A deficiency budget that the Massachusetts House passed this week to close the books on FY17 included a provision requiring every employer in Massachusetts with six or more workers to out an employer medical assistance contribution (EMAC) compliance form and submit it to MassHealth. The form details whether the employer has offered health coverage to its workers, what benefits are offered, cost-sharing details, and more.
The compliance form was one part of a MassHealth reform packaged that Governor Charlie Baker had offered back in July; the form’s purpose was to enable the state to determine which MassHealth enrollees have access to employer-sponsored health coverage, which in turn helps the state collect a new employer assessment.
When the state Senate passed its own deficiency budget package Thursday, it did not include the compliance form. However, the Senate is expected to release a comprehensive healthcare reform package soon – rumored for this week – and provisions addressing the compliance form may be included as part of that package.
A key outstanding budget item in need of attention is the Senate override of a $209 million reduction to MassHealth line-item 4000-0700 of the state’s FY2018 state budget. When the governor signed the increase in the employer medical assistance contribution into law, the need for the $209 million cut was eliminated. Last month, the House took action to restore this essential funding, but the Senate has yet to follow suit. As MHA noted in correspondence to the legislature, “Without this restoration, MHA is very concerned that the administration will need to take action that will negatively affect MassHealth enrollees and healthcare providers.”
MHA also expressed its thanks to both the Senate and House for including provisions in their respective supplemental budgets to permit the Executive Office of Administration & Finance to transfer up to $15 million from the Commonwealth Care Trust Fund to support the Health Safety Net, thereby maintaining a portion of the required state’s share of responsibility to support that program. Governor Charlie Baker had included this language in a supplemental budget filed in February.