Massachusetts has the distinction of having the lowest percentage of its residents who are uninsured for health insurance.
The national average in the United States as a whole is 16%, or about 1 in 6 people having no health cover, and in some states like Texas it is 25%, or 1 in 4 people being uninsured. But Massachusetts has just 5% of its residents being uninsured for health insurance.
This figure is admirable in comparison to most other states, but does mean that even in Massachusetts that there are 327,900 people who are uninsured, despite the fact that in 2006 it was actually declared illegal in the state and those 327,900 people face a fine for breaking the law.
Their intransigence can perhaps be best explained by the fact that the average monthly premiums for Individual Massachusetts Health Insurance are the highest in the country at $437 a month, which is over double the average in the United States as a whole of $215, and over $300 more every month then the average rate in Alabama according to figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Quite why the health insurance companies are able to charge an average monthly premium of $136 in Alabama, when they charge $437 in Massachusetts is unclear. But as Massachusetts was seen as something of a test case for health care reform when the legislation was brought in in 2006, a more suspicious person might wonder if the health insurance companies were specifically attempting to make the Massachusetts reforms appear to be an expensive failure in order to try to maintain a system in the other 50 states that sees record revenue and profits every year for the health insurance companies.
Regardless of your belief or otherwise in conspiracy theories, the fact is that to insure a family of four for health insurance in Massachusetts costs roughly $9,500; and before you could see many of the benefits you would still have to pay a further $3,500 as a minimum annual deductible.
The sad fact is that for many the math simply doesn’t add up, and regardless of whether Massachusetts has managed to clear hundreds of thousands of people from the uninsured lists, does not necessarily mean that those people are well served by the current system.
There are a portion of the population who simply don’t have the money, and however you slice and dice it, if you don’t have a job or a source of income then threatening to fine you in order to encourage you to get cover for Massachusetts Health Insurance is a bit like threatening to drown a drowning man.
There are arguments a'plenty that health care is no different from anything else that people purchase. That somehow it is just a service and that services need to be paid for. And whilst that is true to some extent, it is interesting to reflect that designing a system that can cost a family upwards of $10,000 a year and yet still see them without many benefits of the service should perhaps give rational people pause for thought.
Massachusetts is by no means alone and if you have a good job then the reality is that the cover you get through your employer may work out just fine, as it is often heavily subsidized.
For many, shopping around for health insurance and getting quotes from different companies offering Massachusetts Health Insurance can offer a good way to save money; and with some hospital operations costing over a million dollars, being without health insurance if you can possibly afford it is never going to be a sensible option.
But the next time you read statistics about the magical drop in uninsured people in Massachusetts you might want to ponder if the reality has been an improved system, or simply a good headline grabber that still needs considerable retuning.