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BOSTON—Costs continue to decline for the program that is the lynchpin of Massachusetts' pioneering 2006 health care reform law.
That program, Commonwealth Care, is available to uninsured adult state residents with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level. Commonwealth Care has 173,000 enrollees.
For the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, state officials said Wednesday that the projected monthly cost per enrollee will be $384, down from a projected $407 per month in fiscal 2012 and actual costs of $427 per month per enrollee for fiscal 2011.
State officials say a key factor in the program's declining costs has been the ability of insurers that provide coverage to enrollees to win better rates from health care providers.
“A key driver of overall cost reduction is unit cost improvement achieved through contract renegotiations with providers and referral management,” Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority Executive Director Glen Shor said in a statement. “Several of the insurance carriers achieved significant success in persuading provider organizations to serve Commonwealth Care members at a lower cost.”
At 5%—averaged over 2009 and 2010—Massachusetts has the lowest uninsured rate of any state, the U.S. Census Bureau reported last year.
Health insurance premiums for employer-based plans grew 50% from 2003 to 2010 and if unchecked will increase another 72% by 2020, to nearly $24,000 for family coverage, according to a new state-by-state analysis by the Commonwealth Fund.