What Massachusetts Residents Need to Know About Obama Care (the Affordable Care Act or ACA)

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What Massachusetts Residents Need to Know About Obamacare

On this website, you'll find clear and accurate information about getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including:

  • whether or not you must get health insurance
  • what the available plans cover
  • how much coverage will cost
  • how to sign up for a plan, and
  • how to get help if you need it.

To begin, keep in mind these key points about health insurance in Massachusetts:

1. Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, has not been repealed.

The Affordable Care Act is still U.S. law. House Republicans introduced a plan to repeal and replace the ACA, but it failed to pass.

2. You are legally required to have health insurance unless you qualify for an exemption.

The Affordable Care Act requires you to enroll in a health insurance plan unless you qualify for an exemption from the law. You must report whether you have coverage -- or whether you are exempt -- when you file your taxes in April.

To learn whether your current health plan satisfies the requirements of the Affordable Care Act or to find out whether you qualify for an exemption, see Do I Need to Get Obamacare in Massachusetts?

3. Open enrollment has ended for 2017, but you can still get health insurance if you qualify for a special enrollment period.

For 2017, open enrollment ended on January 31. This means that, unless you qualify for an exception, you can't obtain health insurance through Massachusetts Health Connector until the 2018 open enrollment period begins in the fall of 2017.

To find out more, including ways you might still get covered, see What Happens If I Missed the Massachusetts Obamacare Enrollment Deadline for 2017?

4. You can shop for affordable health care plans at Massachusetts Health Connector.

Residents of Massachusetts use the website Massachusetts Health Connector to choose their health insurance plan, apply for cost-saving subsidies, and get other help they need.

If you are currently uninsured, you can use the state marketplace to compare plans and enroll in a plan that meets your needs. 

If you already have health insurance, you may be able to keep your current plan -- or you can use Massachusetts Health Connector to shop for a new one.

To learn more about enrollment, see How Do I Sign Up for Obamacare in Massachusetts?

5. You may qualify for subsidies that will save you money.

In Massachusetts, tax credits or increased eligibility for Medicaid may help you lower your health insurance costs.

Tax credits. Many people who sign up for insurance at Massachusetts Health Connector will be eligible for cost savings. Under the Affordable Care Act, savings are available to those earning less than 400% of the federal poverty level (about $97,000 for a family of four), and they are offered in the form of tax credits that lower your premiums or reduce your out-of-pocket costs for care.

In addition, the commonwealth of Massachusetts offers its own set of subsidies for those who earn less than 300% of the federal poverty level.

You can find out whether you qualify for any of these subsidies when you apply for a plan at Massachusetts Health Connector.

Increased eligibility for Medicaid. If your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid in Massachusetts. Because Massachusetts is expanding Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare, more people will qualify for the state’s program -- called MassHealth -- than ever before. All Massachusetts citizens or resident aliens making less than 133% of the federal poverty level (about $33,000 for a family of four) will qualify for MassHealth.

For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in Massachusetts.

For an overview of how much health care plans cost under Obamacare, see How Much Does Obamacare Cost in Massachusetts?

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