The Department of Revenue released its data on the 2008 tax-filing season today(the first full year of Individual Mandate implementation and the second year of mandate enforcement), and the news builds on last year’s positive results. The summary is in DOR’s press release and the details, complete with graphs are in the preliminary report (pdf). Also, there’s Globe blog coverage.
The headline is that the number paying penalties for being uninsured despite being able to afford coverage is down 25%. Like other surveys have shown, 96% of tax-filers were insured, and the implementation of the Individual Mandate remains smooth—thanks largely to Commissioner Bal and her team at the Department of Revenue. Other key findings:
- Fully 98.3 % of tax-filers complied with filing health insurance information with their taxes. The 2008 filing required month-by-month determinations, as opposed to 2007′s requirement of Dec. 31 only.
- Over 96% of tax-filing adults who completed the Schedule HC had coverage at some point during calendar year 2008; almost 96% had coverage for the full year.
- 45,000 filers, uninsured and deemed able to afford insurance, were subject to a penalty—down 25% from last year’s 60,000 penalized.
- Insurance was unaffordable for about 21,000 (plus 88,000 under 150% fpl) individuals for the full year of 2008 and 24,000 individuals (plus 47,000 under 150% fpl) for part of the year.
- To date, the State has assessed $16.4 million in penalties, which will be deposited in the Commonwealth Care Trust Fund.
Coming this spring will be a detailed demographic breakdowns of this data.
DOR also released today draft penalty guidelines for 2010; the process will be very similar to this year. Penalties will be no more than half the premium of the lowest cost plan in a person’s demographic, and they will accrue monthly. There will be no penalty for those under 150% of the federal poverty level. The main difference in 2010 will be a reduction in permitted lapse time, down from three months this year to the statute’s minimum grace period of 63 days.
DOR will be accepting comments on the penalties through next Friday, December 18.