Massachusetts Sees Nearly 300,000 Uninsured Enroll For Coverage Under Health Care Law

2007-12-07 13:46

Massachusetts officials on Wednesday said that nearly300,000 formerly uninsured residents have enrolled in some form of healthinsurance over the past 18 months, the Boston Globe reports. According to the Globe,the number surged to 293,000 in the last month as people rushed to enroll in ahealth plan before the end of the year. Under the law, most residents mustobtain health coverage by the end of the year or face penalties.

Officials said that they do not know how many people remain uninsured but thatthey expect thousands of more residents will meet the deadline. The U.S. Censuslast year estimated that there were 657,000 uninsured Massachusetts residents, while the stateestimated 395,000 residents were uninsured. According to the Globe,"Based on those figures, the progress represents coverage for nearlyone-half to three-quarters of the uninsured."

Most of the newly insured are enrolled either in MassHealthor Commonwealth Care Both programs are run by thestate, and beneficiaries contribute a small copayment or receive no-costcoverage, "leading some critics to suggest that the state has accomplishedonly the easy part of its task," the Globe reports. About63,000 of the newly insured are enrolled in private insurance plans. Stateofficials expect that number to reach 100,000 by the end of the year. Healthcare advocates were successful in persuading the state to push back applicationdeadlines for some health care programs from Nov. 20 to the end of the year(Dembner, Boston Globe, 12/6).

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