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Health Insurance Tops Holiday Shopping List for Some Bay Staters

November 17, 2008

Boston, MA – Massachusetts residents are receiving a gentle reminder to be sure health insurance is on the list holiday shopping season. Penalties for not signing up could top $900 this year, compared to $219 last year.

Jon Kingsdale directs The Connector, a state agency that helps Bay Staters find the right insurance and avoid penalties. He urges people not to delay, and offers assurances that the whole experience of shopping for health coverage is different, and much simpler, than it was before the state's health care reform law. He says there's a range of plans to choose from to suit individual needs and adds that everyone is eligible regardless of their health challenges.

"If you get sick, and you have a health plan, they cannot take that into account in either raising your premiums, or withdrawing coverage for you."

Massachusetts residents Kay Winakor and her husband found coverage through The Connector when they had a transition in their lives.

"We thought that we would really have to take it on the chin, and use my husband's COBRA, and that would have been many, many hundreds of dollars more per month."

Critics of the plan say the cost is growing too fast, and some people have asserted that the cost of premiums is too high for their family situation. The number of people without health coverage in Massachusetts has been cut in half with the health care reform law; with about 440,000 people newly covered.

Most people have been shopping for their insurance online at www.mahealthconnector.org.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - MA