FAQ's (this page was updated 2/2/17)

1) What did they change the rules for buying private health insurance for individuals and who is fixing this issue?

IN 2010 the insurance companies convinced the state legislature that people in the private insurance makret were "gaming the system" and causing the insurance companies to lose money. So the state legislature changed the law governinng when and under what circumstances individuals can buy insurance in the private market place. This new law did not change the rules for how businesses can buy insurance.

There is a strict open enrollment period and if individuals miss that period they will more than likely be locked out of buying insurance unless they have a "qualifying event". Note if your employer offers you insurance and it meets minimal credible coverage, you are not allowed to forgo you employer's insurance and buy insurance on the private market place- unless you have a qualifying event (so if you dont' like the insurance your employer is offering you is not sufficent to allow you to buy private insurance even if you can afford it). For more information call Health Care for All's FREE Helpline

2) What if I have applied/submitted my paper work to see if I am eligible for Commonwealth Care or a MassHealth program and I have not heard back yet?

From what we understand you will not be penalized if you are in this situation. As soon as we know more we will post that info on this page. All applications for Commonwealth Care and MassHealth Programs are processed by MassHealth- a state agency. Note it can take up to 3 1/2 weeks for MassHealth to process applications. If you are having problems with MassHealth on your determination (i.e. they are not getting back to you, you don't understand their letters or what they are asking you for, etc.) please contact Health Care for All's Helpline: 1-800-272-4232

3) What happens if I don't abide by the mandate? Will I go to jail? What if I honestly can't afford any of the health insurance options?

If you don't abide by the mandate you will not go to jail, but you may be financially penalized by losing your personal exempting on your state taxes. The Department of Revenue is going to be enforcing the law and will be making determinations concerning fines. The exemptions and waivers will be done by the Connector Authority. There is now a waiver process for those who can't afford any of the health insurance options. We have key information on the individual mandate and the waiver process. IF YOU ARE UNINSURED, NOT EXEMPT FROM THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE, we urge you to get insurance as soon as possible.

4) This is not universal health care. Why didn't they create a single payer system when they had the chance?

The short answer is that the political will is not quite there yet for a single payer system in this country. The HealthcareForArtists.org has always endorsed a single payer system for our population (artists).

Universal Health Care/Single Payer Resources:

Single payer guide from the Massachusetts Nurse's Association

Mass-Care aka The Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care

5) Why aren't the insurance companies having to give back? They stand to make money on this Health Care Reform Law.

This is a good observation and yes they will make money if everyone has to have health insurance in this state and in the country. The health insurance companies, however, due to this law, are now under the spot light and are being closely examined. You will more than likely start to see more reform coming their way.

6) How are medical and health insurance costs going to be controlled?

It is true that health insurance plans premiums and health care costs continue to rise and soon many people and businesses will not be able to afford the premiums in the very near future. Many are struggling now to afford health insurance.

7) When did the change happen to the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law? How is it going to impact me in work and in the Health Care Reform Law implementation? What is being done about it?

The law was changed in 2004 and most people in the Commonwealth are unaware of this change. Please read the section on this site for more information. What seems to be clear is that 2004 law will need to be repealed or amended to stop the negative impact it is and will have on the creative economy- specifically artists and small arts organizations. This law 2004 change, in combination with the health care reform law, has the potential to cause significant economic harm to artists, small arts organizations, and the private sector employment opportunities that artists depend on.

8) What is going to happen to the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obama care) under the Trump Administration?

To be honest we are not sure what will happen. Just stay tuned is all we can say at the moment.