The CMS approved a Massachusetts plan to extend healthcare coverage to most of the state's uninsured and said it will continue to provide the state an additional $385 million in federal Medicaid funds in each of the next two years to finance the program. Massachusetts had been receiving the additional money as part of a Medicaid waiver that established a free-care pool, but in order to be eligible for continued funding, the state needed to expand coverage of the uninsured. The extra federal money now will be used to help finance a Medicaid expansion, a key element of the state's near-universal healthcare plan. The state also will require all uninsured individuals to buy health insurance or face a tax penalty; low-income individuals will receive subsidies and the state will create low-cost insurance options. According to the most optimistic estimate, the plan will extend healthcare coverage to some 515,000 people, or 95% of the state's uninsured, over the next three years. -- by Joseph Mantone
CMS gives go-ahead to Mass. plan for uninsured
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