Massachusetts - it hits the fan

Crabcake Johnny

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Maryland
Been reading a lot of articles tracking the Mass. model since a lot of states are paying attention.

Now that it's tax time it's hitting the fan - and hard. All Mass. residents must file a new form - schedule HC - to prove they have coverage.

However, since by most sources only 1/3rd have signed up for coverage and 80% of the 1/3rd who have signed up are "poor" it's gonna hit the fan like you can't imagine.

Already a 1/5th of all returns filed have not included the schedule HC. All electronic returns submitted without the schedule HC have been rejected.

This is the resident's attempt to avoid the stiff penalty. For singles it's $4,125 and married it's $8,250....and that's just Mass. being nice. Next year those fines double.

Owing the state a fine isn't like owing some creditor. They can take any money you would have received and if it gets nasty garnish wages.

The doctors have given the plan a "F" stating that costs are already going out of control. Residents mandated to have coverage state they simply cannot afford it.

So now what. Does Mass. actually go after these fines? Should they? Remember that driving without auto insurance can land you in jail - pretty severe if you ask me.
 
Re: Massachesetts - it hits the fan

This is the resident's attempt to avoid the stiff penalty. For singles it's $4,125 and married it's $8,250....and that's just Mass. being nice. Next year those fines double.

What does coverage cost for a single in Mass, say age 30? Family? Is it cheaper to pay the fine this year than get the coverage?

Owing the state a fine isn't like owing some creditor. They can take any money you would have received and if it gets nasty garnish wages.

Can the state rip the money from your savings (CD) or checking account like the IRS can?

So now what. Does Mass. actually go after these fines? Should they?

Is there wiggle room in the law that would allow the state to ignore the fine?

Al
 
Re: Massachesetts - it hits the fan

1) It would be cheaper for that 30 year old male to get covered. A $4,000 fine breaks down to $300+ per month. However, a 50 year old might be saving money by paying the fine. Fines double next year so Mass. is going to make sure anyone would have come out ahead getting coverage.

2) I have no idea what kind of power Mass. has of collecting fines. Obviously they can attach wages. I'm sure they can levy or lien assets.

3) All residents had a deadline - long since past - where they could apply to a waiver - if you call it that.

When the dust settles the question is are they going to treat mandatory health like they treat mandatory auto.

For example, in MD the fine for not having auto insurance is $150 for the 1st day and $7 each day after.

$7 X 30 is $210 a month and you can argue that if auto costs more than $210 you're ok......until you get pulled over and arrested. The MVA will demand tags back and suspend tags.

The question is simple; is Mass prepared to go into "enforcement mode." Are they prepared to levy, lien and attach wages. Because if not then there's no "mandatory" coverage.

Then the question becomes this:

Where's the news story of the single mother of 3 who's $2,000 over the income necessary for assistance - which means she must pay all of it.

Say she's 42 and the cheapest plan she can get is $400 a month and she simply can't swing it. Now Mass. comes and attaches her wages for failure to pay the fine.

Are we prepared to watch that mother lose her house over this?

And by the way - I'm just asking. I really don't even know where I stand on this yet. I can't stand mandatory auto insurance and I'd drop my coverage in 10 minutes if I could. I think auto is a flat out con. You lose it = you lose it. Pure bullshit.

Should we really mandate health insurance? I really don't know. With only 30% of eligible Mass. residents having signed up and 80% of who has signed up being "poor" clearly the middle class has licked their middle finger and it waving it to Mass.
 
Re: Massachesetts - it hits the fan

And by the way - I'm just asking. I really don't even know where I stand on this yet. I can't stand mandatory auto insurance and I'd drop my coverage in 10 minutes if I could. I think auto is a flat out con. You lose it = you lose it. Pure bullshit.

I can't speak about Maryland, but the mandatory auto insurance in California is simply to cover the person you run into, and the damage you cause someone else. It doesn't not cover your car.

Also, in California (and most other states I imagine) even though the common thought is that auto insurance is mandatory, it's not. What is mandatory is a financial responsibility filing, something that shows if you damage someone else, you have a way to deal with it. For most people, the cheapest, easiest way to deal with this is through insurance.

I'm surprised to see you would drop it. Auto accidents can wipe someone out financially faster than health problems. Simply put, you hit someone, they go to the hospitial, you are responsible to pay thier health bills, lost wages, and for their car. If I had to drive, and had a choice between paying auto insurance or health insurance, the likelihood of me needing my auto insurance is much higher.

Of course, if you bought your auto insurance online, rather than through a local agent, you are probably paying to much.

Dan
 
Re: Massachesetts - it hits the fan

healthagent,

What your failing to understand about mandated auto and now manidated health is this simple idea..the mandates aren't there to protect you, they are there to protect us from you.

I want you to have auto insurance when your car hits mine. I want you covered. I want you to have health insurance so when your heavy cost services come up they are not passed on to me.

So these situations aren't about the individual, they are about protecting the group from the individual.
 
Re: Massachesetts - it hits the fan

healthagent,

What your failing to understand about mandated auto and now manidated health is this simple idea..the mandates aren't there to protect you, they are there to protect us from you.

I want you to have auto insurance when your car hits mine. I want you covered. I want you to have health insurance so when your heavy cost services come up they are not passed on to me.

So these situations aren't about the individual, they are about protecting the group from the individual.

Excellent post and excellent points!
 
I agree. States are different. Some states have an uninsured motorist pool. Even with insurance if you really messed someone up in an accident you'd hit the limits.

If I hit you while DUI, have a good policy and you're off to shock trauma you can best believe my auto policy's gonna crap out before your bills are taken care of.

But you're right - for most accidents it's there to protect the person who was hit.

If we're going to translate into health I guess we'd be saying that we're tired of everyone else "eating" the bill when you get sick/accident and can't pay.

Then we have to decide is the Mass. model of mandatory coverage is the right way to go.
 
I'm a fan of personal responsibility. I should have the right to not have health insurance if I so chose. If I make this choice though, I have to understand that I don't have the right to demand someone else pay for my healthcare if I need it. I made my choice, I have to deal with it.

Unfortunately, government is heading towards an era of unprecedented personal irresponsibility.

Dan

P.S. I do have health insurance. Not only do I believe in personal responsibility, I try to be a responsible person.
 
But the problem is our decisions don't often just impact us.

Say I drop coverage under the "I'm prepared to accept the concequences" and I get diagnosed with treatable cancer. The medical field plays hardball: "You made your bed - lie in it - no money, no treatment."

But then my wife and son have to watch me die?

What do we do if I drop coverage and end up in shock trauma. Would we really allow hardball tactics; hospital levies your wages, you are not allowed to go BK, lose your house, etc...

Again, I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here. I really don't claim to know the solution to the problem.

I know homeowners insurance is required for a loan. You don't think that's right? Rent.
 
The right time to play the emotions of having health insurance is as an agent, sitting face to face with your prospect.

Would we allow hardball tactics? As a society, we used to. We don't anymore, and as such, we are heading down the path of single payor health care. That single payor will be the taxpayer. We will remove personal responsibility, and make healthcare an entitlement.

Dan
 

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