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Public Policy

Chamber Responds to House Ways and Means Employer Health Care Assessment Proposal

On Monday, the House Committee on Ways and Means filed its FY18 state budget plan.  The Chamber appreciates the House’s effort to address the business community’s concerns while balancing the need to find a solution to the unfair shifting of employees onto MassHealth.  

While the House budget plan still includes the creation of an employer assessment, it takes a different pathway to address the unfair shifting of employees onto MassHealth. The House plan would direct the Department of Revenue (DOR) to create and implement an employer assessment, only after a public hearing process and small business impact statement, and with certain factors to be taken into consideration when crafting the assessment program. The House plan does not mandate what the assessment would be, the minimum premium contribution employers need to make, or the number of workers that need to be enrolled in the employer sponsored plans.  Rather, the House lists factors that should be considered by DOR when determining the appropriate employer assessment such as if an employee is on MassHealth, or if they have reasonable alternative coverage through other means like a spousal or parent plan, Medicare, etc.  Importantly, the House plan sets a goal of generating $180 million opposed to the $300 million the governor’s administration initially set out for. 

In contrast to the House plan, Governor Baker included an employer health care assessment in his budget proposal that would have placed an assessment on employers that fail to provide a minimum premium contribution rate of $4,950 per employee or meet an 80% uptake rate for employee enrollment in the employer sponsored health care plan.  The penalty for not meeting both thresholds would result in a $2,000 per full-time employee assessment.  

View the full letter sent to House Leadership here