Massachusetts Might Rework Health Coverage Standards
The state board overseeing Massachusetts' new health insurance law this week will reconsider its proposed minimum standards for coverage, the Boston Globe reports. The board will seek a premium price that is affordable for the approximately 200,000 uninsured state residents who do not qualify for state subsidies.
Insurers and observers this week said that many residents likely will be able to afford basic health insurance plans for less than $300 monthly. Blue Cross Blue Shield said that it could offer a basic plan for an average of $210 monthly, while Tufts Health Plan said it could offer a similarly priced plan. Blue Cross's competitors say they expect to have bids in the $300 range, according to the Globe.
However, proposed standards by the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector board for more extensive coverage would increase premiums and force thousands of residents with less-comprehensive plans to purchase more benefits, according to the Globe (Dembner, Boston Globe, 2/5).
The board wants health plans to provide "reasonably comprehensive coverage," including primary care, emergency services, hospitalization benefits, mental health services and prescription drugs (California Healthline, 1/31).
The board two weeks ago said that it wanted insurance companies to lower their bids and offer plans with a maximum deductible of $2,000 for an individual and limit out-of-pocket spending to $5,000 per individual (Boston Globe, 2/5).