Governor Deval Patrick said today that he will let stand a budget provision repealing the Fair Share health care assessment on employers, even though the Obama Administration last week postponed a related provision of federal health reform.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts applauds the governor’s decision. Elimination of the Fair Share assessment created under the 2006 state health care reform law is part of package of changes intended to make way for the federal Affordable Care Act and reduce the administrative burden on employers who provide health insurance.
John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM, said the new implementation date for federal penalties does not diminish the value to employers and consumers of eliminating Fair Share and the Medical Security Trust Fund.
“The temporary presence or absence of health reform penalties does not drive benefit decisions for the vast majority of Massachusetts employers,” Regan said.
Included in the budget for Fiscal Year 2014 now on the governor’s desk is a provision eliminating the $295 per employee Fair Share assessment that Massachusetts employers have been paying under state health reform since 2006. The budget would also drop the requirement that employers collect and retain the Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) form, and replace the current $67.20 per employee contribution to the Medical Security Trust Fund with a $50 per employee contribution to fund subsidized health care.
The measures were the product of extensive negotiations among AIM, state lawmakers and groups representing the health care industry and consumers.
The proposed changes became more complicated last week when the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that it will postpone until 2015 the federal health reform mandate that larger employers provide health insurance for their workers or face penalties. Those penalties - $2,000 per each full-time employee after the first 30 for companies that do not provide insurance or $3,000 per full-time employee for employers who offer health insurance that is either not affordable or of minimum value– were expected to replace the Fair Share assessment.
Elimination of the Fair Share assessment has been a priority for the AIM Health Policy Committee and was proposed by Governor Patrick in January.