Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act
What is the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act?
The Health Care Reform Act, which became effective July 1, 2007, is Massachusetts' plan to reduce the number of people in the state who have no health insurance.
What is required of individuals and families?
Massachusetts residents age 18 or older must carry health insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards set by the state. Penalties for non-compliance are through the Massachusetts income tax system and individuals who do not enroll in health insurance by December 31, 2007 will lose their state personal income tax exemption when filing their 2007 state taxes. The tax penalty will be more severe for 2008.
If I already carry health insurance, how can I determine if it meets the minimum standards set by the state?
Fisher College's medical plan exceeds the state's minimum standards. Therefore, if you are enrolled in Fisher College's medical plan, you and any of your family members who are covered under the Fisher insurance plan will meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act for as long as you maintain such insurance. If you are enrolled in health insurance through a source other than Fisher College, and you are not certain if the insurance meets the Health Care Reform Act's requirements, you can seek guidance from the state at: www.mahealthconnector.org.
If I'm not currently enrolled in any health insurance plan, what must I do to comply with the law?
If you are not eligible to participate in Fisher College's health insurance plan, you will need to enroll in a health insurance plan that satisfies the state's requirements prior to December 31, 2007 to avoid the state tax penalty. The Commonwealth Health Connector may be able to help you or your family members find a health plan that meets your needs and satisfies the law's requirements. To learn more, visit www.mahealthconnector.org. Please note that if you enroll in one of the plans offered by the "Connector" you may be eligible to pay for your monthly health premium using pre-tax payroll dollars under Fisher's "Premium-only" Section 125 plan.
If you are eligible to enroll in Fisher College's medical plan but have declined to do so in the past, you may enroll in the College's medical plan during our Annual Open Enrollment with an insurance effective date of March 1st. Open Enrollment occurs once a year in the winter with an effective date of March 1st of every year. The College will send employees Annual Open Enrollment information at that time. However, if you experience a qualifying life status change, such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, etc., please contact the Benefits Office within 30 days of the status change, as you might be able to make a change outside of our Annual Open Enrollment.
What is the Employee HIRD Form?
Each employee who has declined to enroll in Fisher College's sponsored health insurance or "premium only" Section 125 plan must sign a Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) Form indicating that he or she is aware of the state's individual mandate to have health insurance and the penalties that go along with not having health insurance. Fisher's Human Resources Department will distribute these HIRD forms to the Fisher employees who are legally required to complete such forms.
What is the impact of the law on dependent children's health coverage?
Effective January 1, 2007, Fisher College's medical insurance plan allows employees to cover their dependents on the College's plan up to age 26, or for two calendar years past the loss of dependent status under the Internal Revenue Code, whichever comes first. The next opportunity that Fisher employees will have to enroll their eligible dependents in Fisher medical plans is during our Annual Open Enrollment period that occurs in the winter with an effective date of March 1st of every year or within 31 days of the eligible dependent's loss of other health coverage.
If your children or other dependents are not covered under an eligible family insurance plan, they may need to obtain separate insurance through the Connector. Please be aware that individuals aged 19-26 years old are eligible for special insurance products through the Connector. For additional information on the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act, please visit the Web site at www.mahealthconnector.org.
If your children or other dependents are not covered under an eligible family insurance plan, they may need to obtain separate insurance through the Connector. Please be aware that individuals aged 19-26 years old are eligible for special insurance products through the Connector.
For additional information on the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act, please visit the Web site at www.mahealthconnector.org.