Residents of Massachusetts must have health insurance coverage under Chapter 58. Residents must indicate on their tax forms if they had insurance on December 31 of that tax year, had a waiver for religious reasons, or had a waiver from the Connector. The Connector waiver can be obtained if the resident demonstrates that there is no available coverage that is defined by the Connector as affordable. In March 2007, the Connector adopted an affordability schedule that allows residents to seek a waiver. If a resident does not have coverage and does not have a waiver, the Department of Revenue will enforce the insurance requirement by imposing a penalty. In 2007, the penalty was the loss of the personal exemption. Beginning in 2008, the penalty is half the cost of the lowest available yearly premium which will be enforced as an assessed addition to the individual's income tax.
Young adult coverage
Beginning in July 2007, the Connector offers reduced benefit plans for young adults up to age 26 who do not have access to employer-based coverage.
Coverage for people above 100% of poverty up to 300% of poverty began on February 1, 2007. As of December 1, 2007, around 158,000 people were enrolled in Commonwealth Care plans. Initial bids received by the Connector showed a likely cost for the minimum insurance plan of about $380 per month. The Connector rejected those bids, and asked insurers to propose less expensive plans. New bids were announced on March 3, 2007. The Governor announced that "the average uninsured Massachusetts resident will be able to purchase health insurance for $175 per month." But plan costs will vary greatly depending on the plan selected, age and geographic location, ranging from just over $100 per month for plans for young adults with high copayments and deductibles to nearly $900 per month for comprehensive plans for older adults with low deductibles and copayments. Copayments, deductibles and out-of-pocket contributions may vary among plans.
You will face federal penalties if you do not have health insurance, and you are likely to face state penalties as well. The state and federal rules about who will have to pay a penalty and the penalty amounts will probably be different.
Penalties will not apply to people who have been granted hardship waivers or religious exemptions. In addition, penalties will not apply to undocumented noncitizens, Native Americans, people who are incarcerated, people without coverage for less than three months, people with very low incomes, and people who cannot find affordable insurance.
For the federal mandate, insurance will be considered 'not affordable' if the lowest cost plan costs more than 8% of your income. Massachusetts will likely phase in an 8% affordability rule but will modify it to use a sliding scale schedule similar to what the state uses now.
People who cannot find affordable health insurance or who qualify for a religious or hardship exemption or waiver do not have to pay a penalty.
How do I avoid a penalty?
You must file Schedule HC, Health Care Information, when you file your state income taxes to avoid the penalty. Residents with MCC health insurance use Schedule HC to show that they have coverage. Residents without health insurance can use Schedule HC to request an income, affordability, religious, or hardship exemption, or to file an appeal.
We know what Romney’s goal was when he passed his health care plan. His goal was to involve the private sector of Massachusetts in insuring a small percentage of the Massachusetts’ residents [who didn't have health insurance and who were receiving free health care from the government.]
Obama’s goal prior to signing Obamacare into law was much, much bigger.
In 2003, he said, “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan.”
The fact is, Obamacare was originally going to be single payer. It was going to be European — as close to it as Congress would allow. But that was curbed. What they got, instead — what we got, instead — was the first step. Obamacare. The first step toward single-payer, universal healthcare coverage.
And that is the crucial difference. Romney never said, never touted, never promised that “we may not get [single-payer] immediately” or even a little later than immediately. Romneycare is not Obamacare because Obamacare is just getting started. One was an end in and of itself. The other is (still) a means to an end.
In your appeal, you may claim that the penalty should not apply to you. You may claim that you could not afford insurance in 2012 because you experienced a hardship. To establish a hardship, you must be able to show that, during 2012:
(a) You were homeless, more than 30 days in arrears in rent or mortgage payments, or received an eviction or foreclosure notice;
(b) You received a shut-off notice, were shut off, or were refused the delivery of essential utilities (gas, electric, oil, water, or telephone);
rest of the info on next post
Under certain circumstances, you won’t have to make the individual responsibility payment. This is called an “exemption.”
You may qualify for an exemption if:
•You’re uninsured for less than 3 months of the year
•The lowest-priced coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income
•You don’t have to file a tax return because your income is too low (Learn about the filing limit.)
•You’re a member of a federally recognized tribe or eligible for services through an Indian Health Services provider
•You’re a member of a recognized health care sharing ministry
•You’re a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance, including Social Security and Medicare
•You’re incarcerated, and not awaiting the disposition of charges against you
•You’re not lawfully present in the U.S.
If you have any of the circumstances below that affect your ability to purchase health insurance coverage, you may qualify for a “hardship” exemption:
1.You were homeless.
2.You were evicted in the past 6 months or were facing eviction or foreclosure.
3.You received a shut-off notice from a utility company.
4.You recently experienced domestic violence.
5.You recently experienced the death of a close family member.
6.You experienced a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property.
7.You filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 months.
8.You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months.
9.You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member.
10.You expect to claim a child as a tax dependent who’s been denied coverage in Medicaid and CHIP, and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child. In this case, you do not have the pay the penalty for the child.
11.As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, you’re eligible for enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP) through the Marketplace, lower costs on your monthly premiums, or cost-sharing reductions for a time period when you weren’t enrolled in a QHP through the Marketplace.
12.You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn’t expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.