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In 4 Years Since Health Mandate, Mass. Has Collected $65M In Fines

This article is more than 8 years old.

In the four years since Massachusetts began requiring health insurance, the state has collected $65 million in fines from people who don't comply.

CLICK TO ENLARGE: Health fines since 2007
CLICK TO ENLARGE: Health fines since 2007

Supporters of the law say that figure shows the individual mandate is working.

The mandate was included to compel healthy residents and others who didn’t have insurance to buy coverage. As fines rose from $219 in 2007 to $1,212 this year, money collected in fines dropped, which is the way the mandate was supposed to work, says Health Connector Director Glen Shor.

"Everything we’ve seen about health reform in Massachusetts is that more and more people are entering into the ranks of the insured," Shor said. "It’s no surprise to see penalties going down."

The $65 million helps fund subsidized coverage for low- and moderate-income residents. Mandate opponents say this total is proof it is an unfair and unjust burden on residents who decline coverage.

"That’s $65 million taken out of the Massachusetts economy that could have done a lot better things," said Ron Norton, a longtime mandate opponent who remains uninsured. "I doubt that the penalty has had much effect other than extorting people for money who could not afford to buy insurance."

This program aired on June 21, 2011. 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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