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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Connector counts 27,000 newly insured people

The number of newly insured Massachusetts residents rose by about 27,000 people before the July 1 deadline to obtain coverage, the state agency implementing the healthcare law said today.

That brings the total number of newly insured people to more than 155,000, according to a Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector statement. Among them are 15,000 members who enrolled in unsubsidized insurance plans in May and June through the Connector, their employers or directly with insurers.

About 2,500 people bought private insurance through the Connector's Commonwealth Choice program since it went on sale in May, a figure that is 50 percent higher than anticipated, according to the Connector. The others purchased plans through work or from insurance companies. Another 200,000 to 270,000 uninsured people still face the requirement to buy private insurance.

Last month 12,000 people signed up for subsidized coverage through the Commonwealth Care program, bringing the total to 92,000, about 20,000 more than projected by this time.

An estimated 44,000 to 68,000 eligible for the program have yet to sign up. Of those who have enrolled, about 83 percent are getting a full subsidy.

The Connector also said that 1,100 businesses have agreed to allow part-time and contract workers to buy health insurance through pre-tax payroll deduction plans. Some of the employers adopting the plans through the Connector are Boston College, Boston Red Sox, DeMoulas Market Basket, Dunkin Donuts, Gap, Partners HealthCare and TJX.

Adults uninsured by the end of the year, and who do not qualify for an exemption, will lose their state personal income tax exemption, a penalty that will rise in subsequent years.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 12:09 PM
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