Health Now! Expands Health Care Coverage And Benefits To
The Uninsured While Supporting Our Existing Health Care Commitments.
In 1996, a 25-cent tobacco excise tax was passed and has funded health care programs for over 250,000 children, low-income adults, people with disabilities and seniors.
Despite this progress, nearly 400,000 Massachusetts residents remain uninsured, including parents, older adolescents, and low-income workers. While about 6% of Massachusetts residents overall are now uninsured, 18% of low-income adults are uninsured.
The groups made newly eligible for health care coverage under the Health Now!:
Parents of children currently eligible for benefits: Although our child uninsurance rate is among the lowest nationally, many parents of covered children do not meet eligibility requirements. Research has shown that children are healthier when parents are covered under similar plans. The bill allows parents in families up to 200% poverty level to enroll in MassHealth with their children ($29,260 for a family of three).
Low income workers without children: The bill allows people up to 133% of the federal poverty level ($11,425 for an individual) to enroll in MassHealth.
Young adults ineligible for MassHealth due to age: The Bill allows 10 and 20 year-olds with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level ($17,180 for an individual) to enroll in MassHealth.
Adults ineligible for MassHealth due to citizenship status or income level: The Adult Medical Security Program (AMSP) provides basic primary and preventive coverage for adults up to 300% of the federal poverty level ($43,890 for a family of three). Hospitalization would be covered by the Free Care Pool.
Health Now! Reduces Youth And Adult Tobacco Use And Saves Lives.
Tobacco use kills over 10,000 people every year in Massachusetts – that’s 28 people every day. Increasing the tobacco tax is the single most effective way to reduce smoking rates, significantly decreasing youth smoking rates and saving over 8,000 lives from tobacco-related deaths in our state over the next five years.
Raising the cigarette tax by 50-cents per pack will decrease the number of youth smokers in Massachusetts by 8.5% and will reduce overall cigarette consumption by
3% – 5%.
Youth, minority and low-income smokers are two to three times more likely to quit or smoke less than other smokers in response to price increases.
A 50-cent increase in the cigarette tax will prevent 28,000 Massachusetts kids from falling prey to the addiction, death, and disease caused by smoking.
To help smokers quit, Health Now! ensures that tobacco treatment programs are provided by all state-based health care programs, including Medicaid, MassHealth
and the Children’s and the Adult Medical Security Plans.