Mass health insurance market ills and ills

The Unified Market Advisory Council notes that limited network plans offer quality coverage at affordable prices, offering the same services as plans with wide networks, but at lower costs. While many individuals consider limited network plans as a more affordable option, many small businesses do not. HealthConnector for Business offers small employers a variety of narrow and wide network plans, with a 15 percent discount providing thousands of dollars in savings to small businesses.

Health coverage is expensive in the Commonwealth, not because of state or federal health reform, consumer protections, the availability of subsidized coverage, or the consolidation of individual and small group insurance markets, but because of high health care costs.

Health Connect and other state partners look forward to working with small businesses on this important economic competitiveness and affordability initiative. As the state continues to address the real issue of basic health care costs, health care services and programs continue to be here to help residents and small businesses of all incomes.

Audrey Morse Gasteier

Director General

Massachusetts Health Coordinator


A key, but overlooked, solution: a single-payer system for government

The front-page editorial on the ‘death knell’ of the small-business health insurance market tackles a difficult issue, especially considering local small business ownership here on Cape Cod.

But despite his thoughtful analysis of the problem, the editorial overlooked the obvious solution; A single payer insurance system. The Medicare for All bills proposed in the Legislature would cover all residents with more comprehensive benefits than any private insurance, with no deductibles or co-pays, no networks and choice of providers. Financing would be through a predictable 2.5 percent employee health tax and a 7.5 to 8 percent employer tax. No more annual renegotiations of benefits and no more budgeting uncertainties.

Our small businesses will be handicapped in hiring, as prospective employees do not make their choices based on the insurance provided. So far, your editorial notes have been strongly influenced by that concern.

Even access to primary care, which is currently very difficult, will improve. The proliferation of competing health plans, different for-profit models, codification of primary care, electronic record keeping, claims reporting, prior authorizations, and appeals have made it a nightmare. With relatively low rates of pay (the “paperwork” is unpaid labor), it’s no wonder that access to primary care is difficult for many people, even those with so-called good insurance.

Some tax-supported universal health care needs to be put on the table, analyzed and openly discussed.

Dr. Brian O’Malley


The writer is retired as a primary care physician after over 40 years and has represented Provincetown in the Cape Cod Provincial Government House of Representatives since 2015.

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