A state panel charged with implementing Massachusetts universal health-insurance law postponed a vote to set minimum coverage requirements until insurers return with lower bids. The move came after members of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector were told that the new plans would cost about $380 a month, almost twice what former Gov. Mitt Romney had predicted before signing the law last year. Under the new law, all state residents earning more than 300% of the federal poverty level are required to buy health insurance by July 1 or face tax penalties, unless they may secure a waiver by proving they cant afford insurance. The panel postponed determining what minimum level of coverage would satisfy that mandate and asked insurers to submit new bids for a basic plan that would limit annual out-of-pocket costs to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families, and include at least some drug coverage, among other things. The panel said it might reconsider those requirements if the new bids still come in too high. The bids are due in a few weeks, and the board said it expects to vote on the plans at its March 8 meeting. -- by Laura B. Benko
Mass. seeking new bids from insurers
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