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Thousands face delay in Massachusetts plan enrollment

Although the new Massachusetts law requires the government to offer subsidized health coverage to uninsured workers by October 1, 2006, more than 100,000 will be unable to sign up by then. Those with incomes greater than 100% of poverty will have to wait at least until January.

Workers with higher incomes will have to pay significant portions of their premiums and higher copayments, and the Connector will have to come up with a substantial marketing campaign to convince this group of the benefits. The Connector also has to figure out whether the plans will be “affordable.” After it supplies this information to health plans, the plans will have to create specific coverage rules and contract with doctors and hospitals.

“I didn’t appreciate until I was involved in this process how crazy the timeline is,” said Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the governor and House on health reform and is now on the Commonwealth Connector board.

The delay is the first indication of how difficult it will be for Gov. Mitt Romney’s administration to meet the Legislature’s aggressive goal of universal coverage by July 1, 2007 (Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe 8/3/06).

For more information, see Gov. Romney signs Massachusetts universal coverage bill; vetoes employer “fair share contribution”

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