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What Does the Affordable Care Act Mean for Massachusetts?

Courtesy MGN-Online

Courtesy MGN-Online

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — On October 1st, every single state will open a health insurance marketplace, so that Americans will be able to compare and shop for coverage.

This is due to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“Probably the most important thing to understand is that it provides health care for 30 million currently uninsured residents of the country,” said Steven Bradley, Vice President of Government Communications, Relations and Public Affairs for Baystate Medical Center.

The ACA is loosely based on Massachusetts’ own health care reform law.

According to the state’s marketplace, the Health Connector, since the law was signed in 2006, 98 percent of all Baystaters are insured.

Still, some gaps remain.

Bradley says that the currently system in place is more reactive.  In other words, folks end up having to go to the emergency room to treat dire situations.

He says that the Affordable Care Act will change all that, even for those here in Massachusetts. “The way that providers get paid now is that every time you have a test, or MRI, or you have an operation, each provider gets paid separately. In the future, providers are going to be paid for keeping you healthy,” Bradley explains.

The Affordable Care Act will also cover those types of preventative health services, like shots, and cancer screenings with no co-pay. It will also make prescription drug coverage more affordable for seniors.

It will also provide additional federal reimbursement for those who are already covered, and extends subsidies to more low-and middle income families, like individuals who make 300 to 400 percent of the poverty level, or about $46,000 a year.

Here in Massachusetts, only two precent are uninsured, so this is a push to get as many people covered as possible.

If you are already insured through your employer, you won’t have to make any changes.

Coverage will begin on January 1st for those who purchase insurance from the health connector after October 1st.

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