Healthcare News & Insights

Audit: Mandated insurance still leaves many uncovered

Don’t count on state laws mandating insurance coverage to completely eliminate the number of uninsured people in your ER.

That’s the finding of recent audits in Massachusetts. Its landmark 2006 law required all but the smallest of companies to contribute to full-time worker’s health insurance, and have at least 25% of their workforce on the plans. Non-compliant employers faced stiff penalties.

But a recent Boston Globe report discovered that the state had only four auditors to watch the roughly 33,000 companies in the state who were affected by the law.

So far, 40% of companies targeted for audits have been found in violation. Most of the companies were restaurants, temp and staffing agencies, home health care providers and janitorial services.

Health reform debate

It appears that at least some of the non-compliance stems from misunderstandings in how businesses and auditors interpret the law. Regardless of the reason, non-compliance means more employed people without adequate coverage, as well as reduced funds for the state subsidized insurance program for otherwise uninsured residents.

And, as ever, the un- and under-insured will forgo preventative care, delay treatment and eventually wind up in ERs.

Wherever you stand on the health care reform debate, it seems clear that just mandating employer coverage isn’t enough to reduce the numbers of the uninsured without proper staffing and enforcement of the laws.

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