Massachusetts Makes Health Insurance Mandatory

Massachusetts is “experimenting” with mandatory health insurance, according to the Dr. Judy Ann Bigby, the commonwealth’s secretary of Health and Human Services. Under a new law that went into effect July 1, Massachusetts citizens are required to obtain health insurance or face a penalty. NPR has an interview with Dr. Bigby where she explains the experimental nature of the project and its stated goals.

Especially amusing is the part where she’s asked to explain the fact that the fines employers face for not offering health care to their workers are so low as to be pointless, while the fines employees face for not obtaining health care are..well, harder to ignore.

Hey, nothing is perfect, especially not government work, right?

What do you guys think of Mass’s experiment?

Massachusetts Makes Health Insurance Mandatory [NPR]
(Photo: Bree Bailey)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. dbeahn says:

    I for one think it sucks ass that the government would REQUIRE me to spend $420 or more a month for health insurance, without offering any sort of reasonable alternative.

  2. Falconfire says:

    @dbeahn: I agree, one of the reasons I HATE NJ is its mandatory car insurance with no way of getting something thats low cost.

    When you HAVE to have insurance, where is the incentive to make yours lower than the rest of theirs? You HAVE to have it, so they are all going to be similar in price, which is to say high.

  3. B says:

    @Falconfire: Huh? Just because people are required to have health insurance, doesn’t mean they won’t shop around for a better deal. After all, you’re required to have auto insurance, but that doesn’t make the rates any higher. Anyways, the way insurance works is the insurer makes money off people who have it and don’t use it, so with more people having it, they will be more profitable and better able to lower their prices to compete.

  4. ancientsociety says:

    @dbeahn: Agreed.

    And what happens if you’re unemployed? Or self-employed?

  5. bonzombiekitty says:

    @ancientsociety:

    There’s supposedly ways to get government subsidies to get very low cost health insurance if you are unable to afford your own insurance.

    *thankful I only have to contribute $20/pay period for my health insurance*

  6. kaikhor says:

    I like the concept of “you must have health insurance” but only if the government can provide it at reasonable rates and quality healthcare for EVERYONE. That means no $420 a month nor having to seen doctor’s who are too busy to care or are overworked, etc. We should all have health insurance, but if you can’t make it reasonable then don’t fine me because I can’t afford it.

  7. Sasquatch says:

    I’m a temp. I live in Massachusetts.

    Come tax time, I’m effed, and there’s nothing I can do about it because I can’t afford insurance.

    This is the last thing Romney gave us before he left town. Thanks a lot, you Mormon douchebag.

  8. CreativeLinks says:

    I actually think this is a pretty good idea. Although, I am wondering how it is enforced?

    With my Car insurance, a cop can ask for my proof of insurnace, or I get a ticket.

    So….what happens if I get hit by a bus or something in Massachusets without an insurance card? Are you fined?

  9. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @ereusch:

    Move. It’s too fucking cold & expensive up there anyhow.

  10. vr4z06gt says:

    @B: actually in MA it does, auto insurance is regulated by the state, no matter who you go to it costs the exact same, the idea being that service is what sells. Since everyone charges the same friendly people stay in business crappy people don’t. IF you read the fine print on geico, progressive, any of those discount ones its says available everywhere except MA, in one way its good, in others its bad. But in order to help low income people the state raised the limits on who qualifies for free health care from the state. I think if you earn less than 35k and aren’t a student then you get it for free from the state, then its a percentage basis from there.

    What will be really nice is when college is free here. There is a bill in the house now asking for all Community Colleges in the state to be free for MA residents. This is of course going to raise taxes they estimate it at $180M increase or about $30 a person, which would be fine by me to drop the cost of higher education. Consumerist you should research that and get other states on board to keep there ridiculous prices from going even higher.

  11. girlfriend 6.0 says:

    Here’s a link that can answer some of your questions

    [www.boston.com]

    Its a little Q&A that the Boston Globe ran back in June.

  12. DojiStar says:

    There is insurance available through the state and administered by blue cross and other hmo’s across the state. So you do not need to be employed or have an employer to get insurance.

    Affordability depends on your income. Below poverty level and it is free. A family making $51k – $70k a year and the cost will be $320 a month. An individual making $40k – $50k a year the cost is $300 a month.

    But the insurance is decieving. It covers basic needs like infections, sprains, sore throats, the flu ect, prenatal care…

    But if you find yourself diagnosed with cancer, or any other major illness, you will find that none of that is covered.

  13. ancientsociety says:

    @ereusch: Oh god, I feel for you. I’m a temp as well. If I was in your shoes, I’d be moving out of state.

    @bonzombiekitty: So, everyone else’s money has to help pay for said insurance because I can’t afford it. I’d feel too guilty about that.

    And who REALLY profits from this law? If taxpayers have to foot the bill for others, every citizen has to pay their own way if they can, and all businesses have to provide it whether they can afford it or not….the only people benefitting from this law are the insurance companies.

  14. nequam says:

    The plans being offered appear to be affordable. There are subsidies based on income guideline (adjusted annually). For example, a family of 4 qualifies for a susbidy if they make less than $62,000.

    It may also help to explain the penalty for individuals. (1) loss of the personal state income tax exemption for TY 2007 (around $250); (2) in subsequent years, a monthly fine equal to 50% of the least expensive plan premium. The penalties are enforced by the Dept. of Revenue as part of its oversight of tax returns.

    I can’t wait for the following post: “I’m healthy and my medical expenses are lower than the premiums I’d have to pay.” Famous last words.

    Given the nature of the penalty, I’m sure some people will realize that the penalty is less money (in the short term) than the premium and decide its a better deal to take their lumps than obtain insurance. The fact that this approach leaves them unprotected from a health catastrophe likely will not sink in — until the car accident or the lump shows up (but, of course, how will the lump be detected in time if they’re not getting regular checkups?)

  15. huginn says:

    Just in time for this not to be in “Sicko”

    Shame really

  16. bonzombiekitty says:

    @ancientsociety:
    Well, other people are going to be paying for the uninsured one way or another. If Bob gets in a car accident and can’t pay his medical bills, the hospital has to make up the expense somewhere along the line. This could be through programs that are already available via the government, or the hospital just charging other people more money.

  17. Thrust says:

    I have the bloody luck of being in one of the 3 or so provinces that charges a premium for healthcare… But $44/month aint bad.

  18. Falconfire says:

    @B: yes but the insurance companies agree (without actually “agreeing” so as not ot get into trouble) to not drop below certain rates. So while you can shop around, your never going to get as good a rate as say another state, since they know going in you have to have it.

    Look at the rates of a state that makes car insurance mandatory, versus a state where its not and compare it, 9 times out of 10 the state that doesn’t make it mandatory has a rate far below the state that requires it. Why? Because in a state where you dont have to have insurance, they still want you to so they are going to lower their rate as much as possible to get you to bite.

  19. Anitra says:

    I also live in Massachusetts, and I think it’s a case of good intentions, poor execution. We want everyone to have health insurance, without a doubt. But this law requires insurance without doing enough to make sure it’s affordable. There have already been stories on the news of people on a limited income (retirees, anyone?) where the subsidized rates are going to cost them a hefty chunk of their income. They’re trying to figure out how to scale back everything else they pay for – food, rent, etc. to afford the insurance, or petition the state government for an exemption.

  20. nequam says:

    @Falconfire: “yes but the insurance companies agree (without actually “agreeing” so as not ot get into trouble) to not drop below certain rates. So while you can shop around, your never going to get as good a rate as say another state, since they know going in you have to have it.”

    In Mass. the auto rates are set by the state insurance commissioner, so it’s not accurate to say that the companies are colluding on the price. Nevertheless, they benefit from higher than average rate under the regulated system.

  21. beyond says:

    Everyone needs health insurance, but is this the right way to do it?

    If I read this right, someone who doesn’t have enough money to afford health insurance, gets slapped with a fine? It’s like kicking a quadriplegic for not walking.

  22. usamaah says:

    If such a story is posted it would be wise to post more details inside the consumerist page. This plan has been around for a long time, I first heard about it in The Economist,

    “To make the plan work, Massachusetts will offer a mix of penalties and subsidies. Individuals will be allowed to buy health insurance with pre-tax dollars, just as firms currently can. Those who don’t will be penalised through the tax code, and then fined. At the same time, private insurers will receive subsidies to offer bare-bones insurance to those who cannot afford fancier packages.” -”Health Care for Everyone” Apr 6, 2006 of The Economist

    It’s a novel idea and I for one am interested in seeing how it pans out. As the article states, with more healthy people in the pool (those who could afford it but are young and may decide not to) it could depress premiums. Small business will benefit from a health insurance “exchange” where they can shop for insurance plans that have already been approved by the state, this way they don’t have to enter into complicated negotiations with insurers.

    In a best case scenario, more people will see their doctors because they can before their problems become so serious as to make treatment impossible and/or costly. Maybe emergency rooms will deal with JUST real emergencies. It’s optimistic, I know, but with enough of a push and education on the part of the government it is possible.

    **but I also wish to add that if what AnitraSmith says is true, then it is too bad that the plan is failing on execution. If subsidized insurance is still too high for most people then what is the point, really?

  23. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @beyond: No joke. Hey, next we can reintroduce debtor’s prison! That makes perfect sense!

  24. KSE says:

    Awesome. Government forcing people to do things is always the best way to go. You don’t want health insurance? Too bad! You can’t afford it? Don’t worry, we’ll make this guy who doesn’t even want health insurance for himself pay even more to insure you!

    Land of the free, baby.

    As always, the correct answer is total and complete deregulation. Competition is the answer folks.

  25. B says:

    @Falconfire: They agree without agreeing? So they communicate by magical fairy dust then? From what I’ve seen the stats that have more regulations (like MA, for example) have higher rates, and it’s only because those states with lots of regulations coorelate with those that require insurance. Of course, there is another link. In states that require insurance, nobody can be denied, which means people who would ordinarily be uninsurable now can get insurance. That’s good for people with pre-existing conditions (such as bad drivers disease), but it’ll cause the overall rates to go up.

  26. KSE says:

    Car insurance in MA is insane. I moved out here a year ago with a DUI from a few years ago, which made it almost impossible for me to get auto in Milwaukee. Well, I moved to MA and found out the good people of Massachusetts are so nice that the people with a good driving record are willing to pay a significant amount more in insurance so that people with terrible driving records like myself can pay a significant amount less that I would in a rational state.

    Good drivers subsidizing bad drivers. I don’t get why people call em Massholes (course, Teddy K needed to get himself insured somehow!)

  27. tintin1983 says:

    What about those that are poor with preexisting conditions?

  28. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    That would be a great idea of the state of Massachusetts was picking up the tab. Otherwise, it’s government requiring you to have something very expensive..but requiring you to pay for it.

    “Oh..well….we’ve also passed a new law saying you need to live in a 3-bedroom house with a pool. You’ll be more comfortable and have lots more room.” Sounds great and who wouldn’t want a pool? Except..what if (on the off chance) you can’t afford $350,000 (Mass price) for a 3-bedroom house and a pool? And guess what? A family in the Boston area making $50,000 a year is lucky if they can afford to eat (just in case somebody is not familiar with the cost of living in this area). Hmm..health insurance for the family..or food?

    Nice job, Beacon Hill morons.

    We need free or low-cost clinics where people can obtain health care at a price corresponding to what they can afford to pay, not Guido lurking around the corner ready to break your legs because you didn’t fork over your $320 for insurance this month.

    Wait…if you’re working and you have an income, and the law requires you to fork over a certain amount money (regardless of how much or how little you benefit from it)…isn’t this… a tax?

  29. PrinceTuesday says:

    It’s requirements like mandatory (and regulated) car insurance and mandatory health insurance (paid out-of-pocket by those that can barely afford it or subsidized by state taxes for those that really can’t afford it) that is making Massachusetts the only state in the US that is actually losing population. I moved out last year and won’t be back. When was the last time you heard of anything running better when government stepped in to regulate it? Certainly no program in Massachusetts I can think of.

  30. rjhiggins says:

    Love or hate the plan, at least one state is trying to do something beyond bemoaning the high costs (and low satisfaction) of the current system.

    A program such as this, despite its flaws, is well worth a try. Obviously our president is going to take any initiative on this one.

  31. KSE says:

    “That would be a great idea of the state of Massachusetts was picking up the tab. Otherwise, it’s government requiring you to have something very expensive..but requiring you to pay for it.”

    Dwayne, where does the government get it’s money? We pay for everything the government does.

  32. badlydrawnjeff says:

    Let’s put it this way – the insurance debacle was the final nail in the coffin and I moved to New Hampshire. I encourage everyone in Massachusetts to do the same.

  33. alicetheowl says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: $350K? Where in Massachusetts? When I moved because housing costs were insane, the three-bedroom across from the house where I grew up (no pool) was on the market for $375K. A couple of years later, a one-bedroom with a postage stamp of a yard in my old neighborhood went for that much.

  34. The fact that this approach leaves them unprotected from a health catastrophe likely will not sink in — until the car accident or the lump shows up (but, of course, how will the lump be detected in time if they’re not getting regular checkups?)


    @nequam: Yeah, but the cheapest health insurance isn’t going to cover that anyway.

    How does making poor people buy insurance that won’t help them pay for the expensive stuff anyway help anyone?

  35. Zgeg says:

    @badlydrawnjeff: Umm… NO!!! Stay in Mass.. Honestly, us in NH are pretty much done with the mass migration, no pun intended…

  36. Zgeg says:

    Anyone in for a Socialist revolt?

  37. badlydrawnjeff says:

    @Zgeg: Already here, baby. You have a nice place, though.

  38. badgeman46 says:

    Blah! In otherwords, Illegal immigrants (which are everywhere in MA) will get FREE HEALTHCARE, while Joe Taxpayer gets penalized. You would have thought those commies would have learned their lesson 30 years ago when they did the same to auto insurance. Guess what? Regulation= no competition= insanely high prices. When I lived in Mass it cost me over 2 grand a year to insure my daily driver toyota! I can only imagine a future budget for a mass resident looks like this: Housing %50 auto/health insurance %40 bowls of ramen soup %10.

  39. triple says:

    I don’t have health insurance because im self employed.

    I’m 22, healthy, so why the hell do I need health insurance? It’d be nice but its not something im about to pay $400/mo for. I could start paying off a bmw if I had an extra $400 laying around. And that’s something I can actually use!

    Oh, and im in MA so im screwed, regardless. I’m moving to f’ing CT first chance I get.

  40. triple says:

    oh and my car insurance is like $250/mo (no marks, no tickets) thanks to MA’s insane car insurance laws.

  41. meneye says:

    I haven’t been to a doctor in years. Why in the heck should I have to pay for your health problems? I’m glad I live in Florida.

  42. evanchsa says:

    One of the hallmarks of a free society is the ability to make good choices and bad choices. Massachusetts is eliminating an individaul’s ability to make a concious decision not to have health insurance and accept the risk of getting sick or injured.

    Instead they are initially compelling people to get health insurance or face a tax penalty next time they file their taxes. In the following years it changes to an actual fine (if I recall correctly).

    This effectively becomes a government penalty for living – even though there is no direct or potential harm to anyone else if you do not get injured or become very sick.

  43. EtherealStrife says:

    @evanchsa: CC swipers to be issued with every EMT team!


    If you’re too poor or stubborn to pay for health care you should be required by law to carry on your person a Do Not Assist card. That way no medical care whatsoever shall be given to you. EMT 2 feet away and you’re slowly bleeding out? Sucks to be you, cheapo.

  44. AcidReign says:

    .
    .
    &nbsp &nbsp This law bugs the crap out of me for a LOT of reasons! Oh boy! Where to start?

    &nbsp &nbsp First, auto insurance is a different category. We’re taught that driving is a privilege. Thus, the state can license it, and make whatever requirements they see fit on it. There is no “right to drive.” There IS a right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The State of Massachusetts is now declaring that you MUST insure it. Totally different, and WAY off base. I can’t imagine how this will pass court challenges…

    &nbsp &nbsp A LOT of the cost of health benefits problems would GO AWAY if doctors and health establishments were required to CHARGE THE SAME PRICE for any service rendered, regardless of the coverage of the patient. Instead, we’ve got sweetheart deals for the big insurance companies and their huge bases of insured folk, and the average guy on the street pays through the nose if he has no insurance!

    &nbsp &nbsp Oh, broken leg? Your co-pay is $50. Chances are the hospital gets another hundred, maybe, from the insurance company, who takes their sweet time paying off. Maybe, even, enough time for the hospital to start dunning you..

    &nbsp &nbsp Meanwhile, an uninsured person rolls in with the same broken leg, and the hospital charges him tens of thousands. Sure, if the guy doesn’t have insurance, they won’t get that much in the end, but they’ll get anything the guy does have…

    &nbsp &nbsp In my opinion, everyone should be charged the same. If you go to a grocery store to buy hamburger, the store charges everyone the same price. It’s “take it or leave it.” Why not in medicine?

    &nbsp &nbsp Name one other thing that EVERYONE in the USA is REQUIRED to buy, just because they exist? (No, paying taxes isn’t BUYING something… And that’s a different argument for another time!)

  45. acambras says:

    @triple:
    I’m 22, healthy, so why the hell do I need health insurance? It’d be nice but its not something im about to pay $400/mo for. I could start paying off a bmw if I had an extra $400 laying around. And that’s something I can actually use!

    Oh, and im in MA so im screwed, regardless. I’m moving to f’ing CT first chance I get.

    So you’re 22 and healthy — good for you. Hope it lasts. Hope you don’t end up like my friend who was diagnosed with MS weeks before her 25th bday. She’s really lucky she had health insurance before her diagnosis, because she sure as hell wouldn’t be able to get it now.

    I feel bad for people who are faced with the choice of buying health insurance or putting food on the table. Don’t look for sympathy from me (or anyone) when you wreck that $400/month BMW and your medical expenses exceed any payout from your car insurance.

    And if you’re looking for a place with a low cost of living, it ain’t Connecticut.

  46. balthisar says:

    Republican governor did this? That surprises me, until I stop to think that this is really a boon to the insurance companies. Imagine legislation whereby you’re guaranteed customers!

    This was the big problem with Hillary Clinton’s plan, too. No one wants to propose a single-payer system because with would squeeze out the insurance companies who are really just middlemen in such a system. I really, really, really hate to admit this, but what we need is a single payer system that covers a limited set of basics, but yet *not* outlaw private insurance so that we don’t get a crappy system like Canada has (no private insurance, so you come to the USA to avoid waiting lists and substandard service). If I can still have my private insurance and not subsidize over-the-board type of excesses for people that can’t get better insurance themselves, then I can live with that.

    Oh, Part of the problem in MA is that they have to be pre-approved plans. There are already cases coming out where people have perfectly good policies at cheaper prices, but because it’s a policy not approved by the government they’ll have to pay more, have larger co-pays, less service, and/or more exclusions.

  47. Ponygirl says:

    Am I missing where the “reply” has been moved or has it been deleted? Sure would be nice if I could see it and or use it.

    @Acidreign
    Isn’t Social Security a program that everyone has to buy into just because they exist? I’m not arguing that its a fair system or a 100% working system, but it is a govenment program that is not taxes.

  48. DoctorVenkman says:

    In regards to Tintin’s question, “What about those that are poor with pre-existing conditions?”

    I have a mutated case of cystic fibrosis. My case is so rare, doctors did case studies on me when I was a child. I took medicine until I was a teenager, but now, at 26, my symptoms have literally disappeared. That’s been the case for 10 years.

    Unless my employer provides it, no one will give me health insurance with my condition, even though I show NO symptoms of the disease.

    Thank goodness I don’t live in Massachusetts. I would be SOL.

  49. AcidReign says:

    &nbsp &nbsp @Ponygirl: It (Social Security/Medicare) comes out of my paycheck as a tax. And it IS government-managed, God help us! They aren’t requiring you to purchase something from a for-profit corporation…

  50. Pboy1172 says:

    Most people who complain don’t A) understand the system and/or B) have ever been in need of healthcare they couldn’t afford.

    It might raise insurance rates for those of us lucky enough to have it, but it has been proven again and again that preventative care is much cheaper than ER visits and too-late care. This is one of the reasons single-payer systems are cheaper (per person) than for-profit ones. It also puts the onus on caregivers to keep people healthy (cheaper , more profit$) than getting them in too late

  51. Dr_awesome says:

    I’m from Mass and I’m currently uninsured. This law puts me in a tough position because I now have to figure out a way to add $300 a month to my budget. I’m one of those people who makes “too much” to be eligible for any kind of goverment benefit that might give me free or discounted health insurance, but I hardly make enough money to afford the $280 a month plan that my employer offers. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to just quit my job and go on welfare.

  52. Ssscorpion says:

    DR_AWESOME writes “Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to just quit my job and go on welfare.”

    Ooh, you are so close to figuring out the Commonwealth of Taxachusetts master plan!

  53. Notsewfast says:

    @ KSE:

    You say that the free market is the answer. but I say its not. While I’m all for the free market in a lot of cases, healthcare, like education, is a place where I am not.

    If you look at the current state of things in a semi-regulated state, you’ll see that healthcare has been set up in a way to line the pockets of insurance companies & Drug manufacturers. This is allowed to continue because those that would change it are given money from these very companies.

    As it stands there is a substantial amount of regulation in what lobbyists can give to politicians, if that is opened to the free market, the government will be controlled by the highest bidders.

    Let the free market regulate the price of cheeseburgers and gas, but keep the health and education of the people in this country out of this.

    if anything there should be far more governmental control over helathcare…

  54. AcidReign says:

    &nbsp &nbsp@ Dr_awesome: See, that’s what I’m talking about. $280 a month. Now, in my opinion, that’s a lot less than what you’d pay for a simple major medical plan these days.

    &nbsp &nbsp On the other hand, I work for [I think] a large, generous company, who’s negotiated deals, and I pay $50 a week for a “family plan.” This covers four of us. And it’s got the $25 doctor co-pay. $100 emergency room co-pay. $200 deductible on medical per person per year. Maximum out-of-pocket of $5000 per person per year. There’s dental coverage, and vision coverage. They are great about paying, too, UNLESS you don’t follow procedure. If you can’t follow directions, you are screwed.

    &nbsp &nbsp There ARE preferred providers that you have to visit, though, to get full benefits. And, you can tell when you visit those providers. They’re likely getting a lump sum for each patient that goes through their system, and nothing more. They’re getting a hundred bucks or two from your insurance when you visit, and nothing more. Regardless of how much treatment and time you need from the doctor. They have little incentive to actually figure out what’s wrong with you. Their best bet, financially, is to get you out the door as quickly as possible, and prescribe some expensive prescription. If you’re REALLY sick, they will kick you up to a specialist as fast as possible! And the few “preferred” specialists in your problem area are swamped…

    &nbsp &nbsp Affordable insurance is not necessarily a panacea, that’s for sure! I would think that a non-insured, money-is-no-object rich person who is willing and able to pay, is who gets the best health care under the US system.

  55. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @KSE: Yes, I’m quite well aware of the fact that everything government does is paid for by taxes. My point here is that in this case, Mass. is saying “Well, since we already tax the crap out of you (MA residents), so let’s not call it a tax..we’ll just pass a law requiring you to buy something but force you to pay for it. Hmm..that sounds like a tax! But we won’t call it a tax.

    We already pay enough fucking taxes, don’t you think maybe basic healthcare should be included in that? There’s a reason they call it Taxachusetts, and I think the people of MA would agree that they’re already paying enough taxes already without having “mandatory health insurance” fees forced on them at gunpoint.

    I might add that it’s pretty hard for citizens to pay taxes or contribute anything to the “free market” if they’re dead, so it must might be in the government’s best interest to keep its worker-bees from getting sick.

    (And by the way, I’m sure the Commonwealth of Taxachusetts is at the very moment trying to figure out how to tax blog entries that mention the word “Massachusetts”).

    The free market is great for some things, but not for anything that’s necessary for life.

    @alicetheowl: Well, $375K might get you a fixer-upper in Roxbury…maybe.

  56. balthisar says:

    Aren’t there any big lawsuits over this yet? If there’s anyone more powerful than the insurance and drug companies, it’s got to be the lawyers. All they need is a token person to start a class action.

  57. alk509 says:

    @dwayne_dibbly:

    $350,000 (Mass price) for a 3-bedroom house and a pool

    Being from MA, and currently looking to buy my first home, I had to laugh at that… If I found a 3BR with a pool for $350K, I’d move in TODAY! :-

  58. alk509 says:

    @nequam: Actually, paying the $400/month will also leave you unprotected from that lump or car accident… You’ll have to go to the $700-1000/month plans for that to be covered.

  59. Michael says:

    Wonderful way to blame the victim.

    I hate Mormons so very, very much. Mitt Romney and his teenager-torturing, dog-abusing self fill my throat with so much bile.

  60. triple says:

    So you’re 22 and healthy — good for you. Hope it lasts. Hope you don’t end up like my friend who was diagnosed with MS weeks before her 25th bday. She’s really lucky she had health insurance before her diagnosis, because she sure as hell wouldn’t be able to get it now.

    I feel bad for people who are faced with the choice of buying health insurance or putting food on the table. Don’t look for sympathy from me (or anyone) when you wreck that $400/month BMW and your medical expenses exceed any payout from your car insurance.

    It’s “I know what’s best for you” additudes like yours that created this damn law. Last I checked those are MY decisions, not yours. If you think im making the wrong choice? Good for you. Too bad its none of your goddamn business.

  61. hop says:

    ain’t this the same asshole state that inflicted ted kennedy upon us???????????

  62. SkyeBlue says:

    Who is behind this, the Health Insurance companies?

  63. 5h17h34d says:

    Since when is it governments job to protect people from themselves?

    It’s not.

    No seatbelts.

    No health insurance.

    None of the governments business.

  64. acambras says:

    @triple:
    @5h17h34d:

    That’s fine, as long as I don’t have to pick up your slack (through higher health care costs or taxes). It’s amazing how anti-government people can be until they need something.

    If you want to spend your money on an expensive car, go ahead — it’s your money. Hell, don’t wear seatbelts if you don’t want to (but please buckle the kids in).

    But when you’re suddenly faced with skyrocketing medical bills because you CHOSE not to buy a BMW instead of insurance, don’t look to the government to bail your ass out.

  65. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Man, could Ereusch and Michael be bigger bigots?

  66. etinterrapax says:

    Needless to say, we don’t like it. Finding the money for the cheapest plan is going to be a challenge, and we resent being compelled to buy it by the state. My husband’s ready to move us back to NH now–we both grew up there–but that’ll have to wait at least until next year, since I have a work contract here in the fall (no benefits, of course).

    Really, I didn’t think it was such a bad plan when it was first proposed, but I feel that the voters were misled concerning its execution. For a while, it sounded like it was going to be a state-funded plan for people whose employers didn’t provide insurance. My husband’s doesn’t, so we thought we’d be in luck. Legislation was passed to compel employers to provide it, but it was never enforced. I think that the current affordability concerns are based on unrealistic budgeting–based on what the state believes that people can afford if they spend ideally on housing, particularly. $50,000 for a family of three doesn’t go far, even in our outer-ring city, and there’s certainly no BMW happening here. We’re not asking for subsidies, but we’re sure paying out a lot of them–to the state’s bloated welfare program, to the auto insurance industry, to rising property taxes from the inflated housing market. It’s not wrong for people who are supporting themselves and paying taxes to want equity. But this regulation screws exactly those people. And young, healthy workers are just the people the state is losing already, even before this. I can’t feel that sorry about it. They did it to themselves. No jobs, high expenses, and now this–what did they think would happen?

  67. landsnark says:

    This policy is almost surely going to raise prices for insurance at least in the short term and screw the consumer.

    I don’t claim to be an economist, but based on economic first principles it seems pretty clear what happens when you increase demand by flooding the market with buyers (increased demand = higher prices), and provide the sellers with the information that these same buyers HAVE to buy (information asymetry = higher prices).

    And for bonus points, do you suppose benefits will get better or worse when insurance companies are provided with a market flooded with buyers who are compelled to buy?

    Maybe the invisible hand will step in and help out eventually, but in the meantime those who can’t afford insurance are going to REALLY not be able to afford insurance.

    My $0.02 – everyone should watch Sicko and reflect long and hand about how screwed up market-driven health care really is.

  68. triple says:

    That’s fine, as lng as I don’t have to pick up your slack (through higher health care costs or taxes). It’s amazing how anti-government people can be until they need something.

    I’m not asking for -anything-. I’m sure its easy talking like that when your employer picks up the tab. I’m not unemployed, im doing my part. But that’s $4800/year extra towards something that will likely save me a whopping $50. Insurance is meant to bail you out of a sudden expense, not create them.

  69. acambras says:

    @triple:
    But that’s $4800/year extra towards something that will likely save me a whopping $50.

    Do you *really* think your medical bills for a catastrophic illness or injury would total less than $4850?

    BTW, my employer doesn’t pick up the tab for my insurance. You know what they say about what happens when we assume…

  70. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    I lived in Mass. for 9 years. Between state-regulated auto insurance, billions in wasted tax dollars on the Big Dig, and the awful accents – I’ve had enough.
    I finally got fed up with the ridiculous tax laws, socialist state goverment, and insane home prices.
    I’m out, moving to NC tomorrow.

  71. IC18 says:

    I make between $40 and $50K a year. With house, car and other types of payments, not to mention the kids. There is no freaking way I will be able to afford $300 a month for insurance, not unless I want to go in debt. I am so glad I am not Mass right now and if this reaches my state I will be long gone.