BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — How will Massachusetts benefit from President Obamaâ€™s national health care law when its core, the requirement that everyone buy health insurance, was passed in Massachusetts in 2006? Well health advocates say the Affordable Care Act has already helped the state in many ways.
â€śWe have $300 million dollars in grants that have come here for public health interventions to improve our health IT systems, we have seniors who have seen on average more than a $600 decrease in the cost of their medications,â€ť said Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby.
So the primary way Massachusetts will benefit, health officials say, is from more federal funding. For example, there will be tax credits for small businesses and subsidies for low-income individuals to help them pay for health insurance.
â€śWeâ€™re all very excited to bring folks who make between 300 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level into the system by providing subsidies and weâ€™ll be able to provide health care coverage for single folks who may be unemployed, or low-income, and need to have access to our MassHealth program,â€ť said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, the executive director of Health Care For All. Massachusetts already helps those earning about $33,500 to pay for health insurance, but the ACA will extend that help to those earning about $44,680.
In August, insurers must cover preventative care like contraception without copays; Young adults will be able to stay on their parentâ€™s health plan until theyâ€™re 26 years-old; And in 2014, MassHealth will receive nearly $2 billion in additional federal money over 5 years.
State officials said the Commonwealth will also receive more money to expand services in Medicare and Medicaid, including lower prescription drug costs and free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies.
â€śWe have a lot of celebrate and weâ€™re really happy that weâ€™ve been doing a lot of hard work to be ready for ACA in 2014,â€ť said Bigby. â€śSo 2014 here we come!â€ť
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