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Fewer Mass. Residents Appeal Health Insurance Fines

As the tax filing deadline approaches, fewer Massachusetts residents are appealing the state penalty for failure to have health insurance.

The penalty for not having health insurance was four times higher in 2008 than in 2007, so some state officials expected more appeals this tax season. But even though more residents have filed early returns as compared to last year, the number of tax filers contesting the fine is down 30 percent.

"It may be a reflection of the fact that more people have health insurance this time around than they did a year ago, " explains Department of Revenue Commissioner Navjeet Bal. "So perhaps the penalties from a year ago had the desired affect, which was to encourage people to get health insurance."

Final appeals numbers won't be in for several months. The Connector Authority set aside $2.7 million to handle appeals this year.

This program aired on April 13, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.

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