Massachusetts Health Care Reform
The Massachusetts health care insurance reform law, St. 2006, c.58, informally referred to as Romneycare, is a state law enacted in 2006, signed into law by then-governor Mitt Romney. The law mandates that nearly every resident of Massachusetts obtain a state-government-regulated minimum level of healthcare insurance coverage and provides free health care insurance for residents earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL). The bill aimed to cover 95% of the state's 500,000 uninsured within a three-year period. The law was amended significantly in 2008 and twice in 2010 and major revisions related to health care industry price controls were introduced in the Massachusetts legislature in May 2012 that passed in August 2012.
Among its many effects, the law and its amendments established an independent public authority, the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, also known as the Health Connector. Among other roles, the Connector acts as an insurance broker to offer private insurance plans to residents. The reform legislation also included tax penalties on residents that fail to obtain an insurance plan, and tax penalties on employers with more than 10 full-time employees that fail to offer an insurance plan to employees. In 2007, Massachusetts tax filers who failed to enroll in a health insurance plan which was deemed affordable for them lost the $219 personal exemption on their income tax. Beginning in 2008, the penalty became pegged to 50% of the lowest monthly premium for insurance available from the Connector Authority.
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