Health Reform in Massachusetts

Health reform in Massachusetts has achieved nearly universal coverage—leaving the number of uninsured working-age adults at just 4 percent, well below the 20 percent uninsurance rate nationally for 18- to 64-year-olds. At the same time, Massachusetts’ health reform effort enjoys a 72 percent approval rating statewide, according to a new study out today by researcher Sharon Long at the Urban Institute. According to the findings, adults with incomes less than 300 percent of the federal poverty threshold saw the largest gains in coverage between 2007 and 2008, with the share of uninsured adults in that category falling from 24 percent to 8 percent.

Employer-sponsored insurance in Massachusetts continued to gain ground in 2008, increasing nearly 5 percentage points over pre-reform levels in 2006, and now provides coverage for more than 70 percent of all non-elderly adults in the Bay State. Rather than undermining private insurance coverage, as some feared, health reform in Massachusetts has led to an expansion of employer-sponsored insurance in the state. These findings were released as a part of a new policy brief, Health Reform in Massachusetts: An Update on Insurance Coverage and Support for Reform as of Fall 2008.

The brief is the latest in a series funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on implementation of the Massachusetts reforms.