The Associated Press

How The Affordable Care Act Will Affect Mass.

BOSTON — While most states are bracing for the launch of the new insurance marketplaces under President Obama’s health care law, Massachusetts officials said Monday they’re confident of a smooth transition.

One reason for the relative calm is Massachusetts’ unique history as the first state to create a marketplace to help uninsured residents connect with coverage.

The 2006 Massachusetts law, signed by former Gov. Mitt Romney, provided a blueprint for the 2010 Affordable Care Act signed by Obama.

“I think we’re as ready as we can be,” Gov. Deval Patrick told reporters outside his State House office.

Despite the similarities, there will be some changes because the state law and the federal law rolling out Tuesday aren’t exactly the same.

Among the changes:

- The website for the state’s marketplace, the Health Connector, will be relaunched Tuesday with updated information to reflect changes from the federal law;

- 150,000 individuals insured through the state’s subsidized Commonwealth Care program will have to begin re-enrolling in updated subsidized health care plans;

- 100,000 individuals will be shifted from Commonwealth Care into the state’s Medicaid program, known as MassHealth;

- 45,000 uninsured people will become eligible for MassHealth;

- some smaller employers and individuals could end up paying more for coverage while others will save money;

- those who are deemed able to afford insurance but refuse to buy it will start facing both a federal “individual mandate” and the existing state penalty, but that won’t trigger a double penalty, with the higher penalty acting as a cap;

- officials say the state will reap an additional $400 million in higher federal reimbursement in the fiscal year that begins next July as a result of the federal law.

Massachusetts has taken some steps to help ease the changes.

Lawmakers this summer repealed a mandate requiring employers provide health insurance to workers or pay a penalty — in part because the federal law included its own mandate.

Under the federal law, firms with 50 or more employees face a mandate to offer insurance or risk fines from the government starting in 2015.

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  • jefe68

    What really is not being reported here is some folks( me for instance) will have to buy into plans with high deductibles. Right now I have a very good plan with a decent copay that works for my budget. I’m thinking of not having insurance as it will be cheaper to pay the fine.

    If you get rolled into Medicaid, good luck finding a doctor that will take it.

    • rfra20

      We’re a small company and we’ve actually opted to go with the high deductible plans. They’re by far the best deal provided that you also open a Health Savings Account. An HSA works like an IRA – funds you put in come off taxable income and can be used towards medical expenses, like your deductible. The caveat is that you have to have a few thousand$ to put into an HSA….

    • fun bobby

      jefe is refreshing to hear your take on this

  • crescentfang

    So there is now no “employer mandate” in Massachusetts since the Federal one is delayed and the state one is repealed?

  • Thomas Aquinas

    In a related YouTube video, Hussein Obama elucidates his strategy for raising energy prices to attack the middle class:

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