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Part four in a series

The information in this series concerning the new Massachusetts health insurance laws was provided by state Rep. Robert Hargaves (Groton-R).

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

How will this bill affect small businesses?

The Connector will take away the administrative burden of offering insurance with pre-tax dollars.

The Connector will help small businesses choose high-value, good-quality products.

The Connector will allow for multiple employers’ paying into one person’s insurance premium and allow for portability — an excellent benefit for part-time employees.

Individuals who leave a small business that offered coverage through the Connector will be able to maintain the same health plan on their own — a valuable benefit for seasonal employees.

The bill expands eligibility for the current Insurance Partnership Program. Employees with incomes up to 300 percent FPL (instead of 200 percent) will be able to participate, and their employer will receive a subsidy towards his or her share of the premium cost

How will this health reform legislation impact the large safety-net hospitals?

Boston Medical Center and Cambridge Health Alliance will continue to be supported for providing care to the uninsured.

How will this legislation impact community hospitals?

Community hospitals will benefit from additional funds available for Medicaid provider payments.

Expanded Medicaid eligibility and assistance with purchasing private insurance will result in more people with insurance coverage, reducing the burden of free care and bad debt that hospitals bear now.

A more rational system for reimbursing hospitals for the cost of providing uncompensated care will help community hospitals receive their fair share of available reimbursement funds.

Will the bill provide rate increases for providers?

Hospitals and physicians will receive Medicaid rate increases of $90 million each year in FY07, FY08 and FY09.

In FY08 and FY09, these increases will be tied to quality and other performance measures.

What will happen to the Free Care Pool under this legislation?

The current Uncompensated Care Pool is eliminated by this legislation.

A new, reformed Health Safety Net Fund, overseen by the Office of Medicaid, will reimburse hospitals and community health centers more fairly for uncompensated care.

Reforms will make the Health Safety Net Fund efficient — reimbursements will be made using a new standard fee schedule, instead of the current charge-based payment system

Less money will be needed for the Health Safety Net Fund as more people in Massachusetts acquire coverage.

Some funds used for the Health Safety Net Fund now will be transferred to provide subsidized Commonwealth Care Health Insurance to individuals in the future, as the number of uninsured declines.