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How Long Can You Go Without Health Insurance In Massachusetts

Federal Penalty Applied From 2014 Through 2018

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When it comes to encouraging people to have health insurance, the ACA has plenty of carrots, including guaranteed-issue coverage and subsidies to make coverage and care more affordable . But for several years there was also a stick, in the form of a financial penalty for people who failed to maintain health insurance coverage throughout the year.

The penalty was implemented in 2014, and became progressively steeper through 2016. The average penalty for people who were uninsured in 2015 was $470 up from $210 the year before. And according to data from the IRS, the average penalty was $708 for tax filers who owed the penalty for being uninsured in 2016.

For 2017 and 2018, the penalty remained at the same level it was at in 2016. But the penalty was eliminated after the end of 2018, as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was enacted in late 2017 .

The ACA’s individual mandatethe requirement that people maintain minimum essential coverageis still in effect. But there is no longer a federal penalty for non-compliance. So people who are currently uninsured are not subject to a federal penalty. They’re still stuck without health insurance if they end up needing medical care, and unless they experience a qualifying event , they won’t have an opportunity to enroll in coverage until the annual open enrollment period.

State Individual Mandate Penalties

With the elimination of the federal individual mandate penalty, some states have implemented their own mandates and penalties:

  • Massachusetts already had a mandate and penalty, which has been in place since 2006. The state had not been assessing the penalty on people for whom the federal penalty applied, but started assessing the penalty again as of 2019.
  • New Jersey implemented an individual mandate and an associated penalty starting in 2019.
  • The District of Columbia also implemented an individual mandate and associated penalty as of 2019.
  • Rhode Island created an individual mandate and associated penalty as of 2020.
  • California created an individual mandate and associated penalty as of 2020.

Most of the states with individual mandates have modeled their penalties on the federal penalty that was used in 2018, which is $695 per uninsured adult , up to $2,085 per family, or 2.5% of household income above the tax filing threshold, although there are some state-to-state variations.

Vermont has an individual mandate as of 2020, but the state has not yet created any sort of penalty for non-compliance.

Maryland has created a program under which the state tax return asks about health insurance coverage, but instead of penalizing uninsured residents, the state is using the data in an effort to get these individuals enrolled in health coverage. Other states have since followed Maryland’s lead in creating an “easy enrollment” program.

Are Employers Required To Offer Health Insurance

The provisions of the Affordable Care Act determine whether an employer is required to offer health insurance or not. In most states, small businesses with under 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees have no legal requirement to offer health insurance. However, if a small business does decide to offer medical coverage, then it must meet the following health insurance requirements.

  • The health insurance coverage must be offered to all full-time employees. Typically, full-time employees are defined as those who work 30 or more hours per week.
  • A small business has no obligation to offer health insurance to part-time employees .
  • However, if an employer offers insurance to at least one part-time employee, then the small business must offer group coverage to all part-time employees.

Conversely, an employer with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees is considered to be an applicable large employer , and is legally required to offer health insurance to all of its workers, as per the ACAs health insurance requirements related to employer shared responsibility provisions.

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Can I Visit An Urgent Care Without Insurance

Dont have health insurance? You are not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 31 million Americans are uninsured. Its no wonder that so many people choose to postpone seeking medical treatment as they try to avoid a financial setback from the potential cost of care.

Enter urgent care. In most cases, if you walk into an urgent care center without insurance, they will allow you to pay affordable cash prices for services. This is usually referred to as self-pay. The amount you pay for treatment at an urgent care without insurance will depend on your needs.

Seeking care at an urgent care clinic without insurance is a far more cost-effective option if you need medical attention for issues such as fever, flu symptoms, allergic reactions, minor cuts, animal bites, or minor broken bones. Urgent care centers can also handle annual physicals and vaccinations for those who need them.

However, ERs often end up treating minor emergencies that could be treated at an urgent care clinic. In fact, research puts that number at roughly 60 percent. Aside from costing a lot of money, choosing to seek treatment at an ER for a minor medical issue also leads to overcrowded emergency rooms, longer wait times, and puts people who really do need emergency care in danger.

At AFC, you do not need an appointment, and we offer extended hours on weekdays and weekends, too.

Use our easy location finder to identify an AFC near you.

Overview Of Massachusetts Health Reform

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Massachusetts launched its health reform initiative in 2006 based on the principle of shared responsibility among individuals, government, and business. Building on the existing system, the state expanded its Medicaid program, created a new subsidized program through a health insurance exchange, instituted insurance market reforms to make insurance more available and affordable, and required employers not offering insurance to contribute a modest amount of money to help finance government subsidies. The state was also the first to require individuals who could afford it to purchase health insurance. Early projections from the Urban Institute, which was contracted by local stakeholders to provide research informing the reform debate, indicated that coverage expansion reforms would not reach anything close to universal coverage without an individual mandate . Because it interacts with the coverage expansion tools, the mandate must be understood in reference to the broader reforms, subsidies, and insurance regulations.

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Can I Only Apply For Insurance During This Period

Outside of the open enrollment period, you need to experience qualifying event such as a change in your household size , a change in income, or a loss of your current insurance in order to get most private insurance. However, if you are eligible for certain health care plans such as MassHealth, Health Safety Net, or ConnectorCare, you can apply at any time of the year. You can check what plans you qualify for on the Massachusetts Health Connector.

If youre unsure if you can get insurance outside of open enrollment, you can check with our HelpLine at 272-4232

What Do I Do If My Premiums Are Increasing And Im Not Eligible For Lower Cost Plans

You should explore the plans available through the Massachusetts Health Connector. Although some plans are increasing in price, other plans may still be affordable for you. By switching to a different plan, you may have lower costs. You can compare all your options on the Massachusetts Health Connector website.

If the plans available to you on the Massachusetts Health Connector still seem too expensive, you can also contact insurance companies directly to see if they are offering lower-cost plans that arent available on the Massachusetts Health Connectors website.

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How To Go To The Doctor With No Insurance

    Do you have health insurance? Do you need it? Depending on which minute you check the news, Congress may or may not be renewing the debate on killing the Affordable Care Act or passively letting it die while activists renew their calls for universal coverage.

    Here in the United States, we don’t offer affordable care to everyone as some other places do. As an added bonus, our health care costs much more than it does almost anywhere else. Great, right?

    You might not even know whether you have health insurance, what it covers, or what that means. That is all completely understandable, since these things can be so confusing. Whats most important is that you learn how to stay alive and not go into crushing debt along the way.

    Have You Had A Qualifying Life Event

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    With COVID-19 impacting so many aspects of life, more Massachusetts residents than ever before qualify for reduced-cost healthcare. You may even be eligible for a subsidized health insurance premium that can make your payments as low as $0 a month. Some qualifying life events include:

    • Losing a job or having your hours cut
    • Unable to get health insurance through work
    • Getting married or divorced

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    Are Employers Required To Offer Health Insurance To Employee Dependents

    Health insurance plans generally allow qualified dependents to be added to any plan. However, for group health insurance plans, it is optional for employers to pay for the health insurance coverage of employee dependents. In most cases, employees can still add qualified dependents to their health plan, regardless of whether their employer decides to contribute to dependents premiums.

    If You Miss A Monthly Premium Payment

    Your health insurance company could end your coverage if you fall behind on your monthly premiums.

    But before your insurance company can end your coverage, you have a short period of time to pay called a “grace period.”

    The health insurance grace period is usually 90 days if both of the following are true:

    Note: If you dont qualify for a premium tax credit, your grace period may be different. Contact your state Department of Insurance for information on grace periods in your state.

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    Disparities Among Population Groups

    A review of the literature on the interaction of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status with health insurance, concluded that health insurance makes a positive contribution to the likelihood of receiving appropriate screening services, although racial and ethnic disparities persist independent of health insurance . Studies of the use of preventive services by particular ethnic groups, such as Hispanics and African Americans, find that health insurance is associated with increased receipt of preventive services and increased likelihood of having a regular source of care, which improves one’s chances of receiving appropriate preventive services .

    Breen and colleagues modeled the expected increase in screening rates for different ethnic groups if they were to gain health insurance coverage and a regular source of care. This âwhat-ifâ model suggests that those groups for whom screening rates are particularly low would make the largest gains .

    Aca Goal: Insure Most Americans And Keep Them Insured

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    The overarching goal of the Affordable Care Act was to extend health insurance coverage to as many Americans as possible. In that regard, it’s had significant success. From 2010 through 2016, the number of people with health insurance in the U.S. increased by roughly 20 million. And although the uninsured rate has been increasing since 2017, it has been below 10% since 2015.

    But while access to health insurance is important, it’s also important that people maintain their coverage going forward. Keeping as many people as possible in the risk poolespecially when they’re healthy and not in need of immediate carekeeps premiums affordable. And while health insurance coverage is certainly not cheap, it would be far more expensive if people could just wait to purchase coverage until they were in need of medical care.

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    Loss Of Coverage And Changes In Health Status Over Time

    Persons who lose health insurance have been found to experience declines in their health status. Longitudinal studies that follow a cohort of individuals over time can provide a âbefore-and-afterâ picture of health status, comparing a group that maintained coverage with one that lost it. Such a design helps to minimize the possibility that unmeasured factors that vary along with health insurance status account for differences in health, a competing hypothesis that cannot be eliminated in cross-sectional studies.

    Lurie and colleagues took advantage of a natural experiment in the mid-1980s when California eliminated Medi-Cal coverage for a group of medically indigent adults. Following matched cohorts of adults seen at an internal medicine practice at a university clinic who either maintained or lost Medi-Cal coverage, the authors found that the patients who lost coverage reported significant decreases in perceived overall health at both six months and a year later, unlike those who maintained coverage. As discussed earlier in this chapter, participants in this study with hypertension who lost coverage also experienced worsening blood pressure control, while those who maintained coverage did not.

    1.

    Unadjusted Self-Reported Health Status for 18â64 Year-Old Adults, BRFSS, 1998 .

    Are There Certain Benefits My Insurance Company Must Provide

    For individual policies, and for group policies governed by Maine law, the law requires certain benefits. See the list of Maine’s mandated benefits. Qualified Health Plans sold to individuals and small groups are also required by federal law to provide certain healthcare benefits.

    In addition, Federal law requires your insurer to cover certain preventive services without you having to pay a copayment or co-insurance or meet your deductible, when you obtain these services from a network provider. See a list of the covered preventive services. —

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    I’m Covered By 2 Health Insurance Policies If I Have A Claim Who Pays First

    When you are covered under more than one health plan, coordination of benefits occurs. This means that the two plans will coordinate to see which pays first. The plan that pays benefits first is called the primary plan and the plan that pays the remaining benefits is called the secondary plan.

    Bureau of Insurance Rule 790 requires insurance carriers to decide the order of paying claims. The policyholder should not be subject to late or denied claims payments in the interim.

    How To Pay For Rehab Without Insurance

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    If you desperately need to go to rehab for drug or alcohol addiction but dont have health insurance and not sure how to pay, there are coverage and financing options available to help you cover the cost of treatment.

    The editorial staff of Rehabs.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.

    If you desperately need to go to rehab for drug or alcohol addiction but dont have health insurance, there are coverage and financing options available to help you cover the cost of treatment.

    Addiction is a lifelong, chronic illness that affects the mind, body, and spirit, and it can cause serious health risks in a persons life. Substance abuse is a life-threatening condition that carries serious risks ranging from an overdose to relationship problems or losing your job.

    If youd like to know whether your insurance may cover the full or partial cost of rehabilitation at one of American Addiction Centers various rehab centers across the states, simply fill in your information in the form below.

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    Can You Go To Rehab Without Insurance

    Youve finally admitted you have a problem and you need help. But moneys tight, and you dont have the means to pay for rehab especially since you dont have health insurance. If youre wondering how to get into rehab without insurance for drug or alcohol addiction because you are unable to cover the full costs, not to fear you dont have to let recovery fall to the wayside simply because you cant afford it. There are low-cost and even free options for those who arent insured. You just have to be diligent in finding them.

    What Are My Options For Complying With Obamacare

    You have 3 options and two of them involve a penalty:

    • Get no insurance and pay a penalty for no health insurance at tax time.
    • Get cheap insurance and pay a penalty at tax time.
    • Enroll in a qualified health plan. This option does not have to be through Covered California to avoid the penalty, but it does have to be a Covered California plan in order to qualify for a government subsidy.
    • Enroll in a Health Care Sharing Plan, which is exempt from the penalty and my offer lower premiums than traditional health insurance.

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    States Where There Is Still A Penalty

    In 2020, there’s a penalty for being uninsured if you’re in California, DC, Massachusetts, New Jersey, or Rhode Island. The penalty was assessed on 2019 tax returns in DC, Massachusetts, and New Jersey it will start to be assessed on 2020 tax returns in California and Rhode Island. Massachusetts has had an individual mandate penalty since 2006, although they didn’t double penalize people who were uninsured between 2014 and 2018 and subject to the federal penalty. But they started assessing penalties again as of 2019, since there is no longer a federal penalty.

    Vermont implemented an individual mandate as of 2020, requiring state residents to maintain coverage. But lawmakers designed the program so that there is currently no penalty for non-compliance with the mandate. Instead, the information people report on their state tax return will be used for the state to conduct targeted outreach to help people obtain coverage and understand what financial assistance might be available to offset the cost.

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