MBA Insurance Agency presents workshop on Mass. Health Care Reform Law in Springfield

Issue March 2008

On Jan. 23, MBA Insurance Agency President Terence J. Welsh, CPCU, AIS, and Robert A. Levitt, CLU, CHFC of MB Insurance LLC, provided Western Massachusetts MBA members with an overview of the mandates outlined by the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law.

This mandate now requires all uninsured residents of the commonwealth to obtain health insurance.

To give participants the information they need to make informed decisions, Levitt outlined different small group health insurance plans offered by various Massachusetts carriers. The attendees left with the information they needed and a commitment that they have a dedicated resource that will work with individual members directly to review potential policies and set up a plan that fits their needs.

A significant amount of time was spent reviewing the newly established Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, the conduit for individuals and small businesses to obtain affordable health insurance through private insurers. This Connector Authority also provides Commonwealth Care, a new health insurance product available to low-wage earners.

In addition, starting on Jan. 1, 2008, all health insurance companies began mailing a 1099HC form to all policyholders. There will be a new reporting requirement on the individual tax return that will verify whether the individual has complied with the new state health insurance requirement.

Many workshop participants voiced concerns about how the loss of personal tax exemptions impacted them in 2007 and how the fines escalate in 2008. For example, this year, uninsured Massachusetts residents will be fined 50 percent of the lowest priced plan that the Connector Authority provides, based on age, family and location. The fine accumulates each month against a resident’s 2008 income tax filing.

Participants also learned how various marketplace health plans work, how to determine the best plan for themselves or their clients and how to take advantage of the MBA’s resources on health insurance.

For more information about coverage options, visit the MBA Insurance Web site, or call the MBA Insurance Agency at (413) 788-7878.