Penalties Rise for Uninsured Massachusetts Residents

By Staff Report

Jan. 6, 2011

Massachusetts residents who do not have health insurance coverage face higher financial penalties this year under final rules adopted last week by the state Revenue Department.

The maximum penalty this year for those with incomes that exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty level will be $101 for each month an individual has no health insurance, or $1,212 a year.

Last year, the maximum penalty for noncompliance was $93 a month up to a maximum of $1,116 a year.

Penalties for people with incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level would remain the same. Depending on income, they range from $19 to $58 a month.

Penalties do not apply for individuals with incomes that are less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level, or $16,248 for an individual and $33,084 for a family of four. Those people are eligible for free health insurance coverage, with premiums paid by the state.

Imposing penalties on those without health insurance is a key part of Massachusetts’ 2006 health care reform law, with the goal of moving the state very close to universal coverage.

Last month, a state report said more than 98 percent of state residents had health insurance. The U.S. Census Bureau put the Massachusetts uninsured rate—averaged over 2008 and 2009—at 5 percent.  

Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail


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