One of the most common questions we hear about health insurance in our state is whether Massachusetts employers have to provide health coverage? The problem is that the answer isn’t so easy to find since health laws in Massachusetts are among the most complex in the country.
There are small-business tax incentives, hardship exemptions for those who can’t afford health insurance, and many other factors that come into the equation.
Still, you can find the best insurance you can afford if you have the correct information in hand. The good news for Massachusetts residents is that you have many options to choose from, yet many find it difficult to find health coverage, nonetheless.
It would be best if you didn’t get penalized on your state income tax returns merely because you’re not too keen on Massachusetts health care reforms, a controversial topic in the state for some time.
That’s why we’re publishing this article on the Massachusetts mandate for employer health coverage to make it much easier on you when you don’t know what to trust online.
To lay the groundwork, here’s what you should know about Massachusetts’ employers and their requirement to offer some form of health insurance – and where to find health insurance if your job doesn’t need to provide it.
Why do Massachusetts employers have to provide health insurance?
Health reform laws in Massachusetts are intricate and cause confusion for one main reason: the state passed its own health care reform law in 2006, four years prior to the passing of the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).
So, the short answer is, yes; indeed, Massachusetts employers have to provide a minimum amount of health coverage if they meet certain thresholds, such as the number of employees on staff.
But the situation gets confusing to unravel when you try to determine which regulations supersede the others because the ACA also comes with a mandate to carry health insurance, so what’s the bottom line?
Essentially, since Massachusetts health reform laws were already in place before the ACA’s passing in 2010, the federal government allows the state to keep specific stipulations in place that technically differ from Obamacare.
Massachusetts health reforms and the ACA’s employer mandate
The ACA requires that all employers in the U.S. with over 50 full-time equivalent workers offer a minimum amount of health insurance, but Massachusetts law is unique! That’s why so many residents often misconstrue state health laws and federal health laws.
In Massachusetts, employers must provide access to affordable health coverage if they have only 11 or more full-time equivalent workers, a much lower threshold than “Obamacare” requires. Likewise, there’s also an individual mandate to carry health coverage for all adults over the age of 18, yet you only have to pay for insurance if you can afford it.
Still, Massachusetts law requires that employers contribute up to $295 per employee towards a health plan; however, the situation changes when a company has more than 11 full-time equivalent workers on staff.
When you have a staff of 11-50 full-time equivalent employees in Massachusetts, you must include a minimum of 25 percent of your full-time workforce in your business’s health plan. The alternative is to contribute 33 percent towards the price of individual health plans.