State seeks to shift health care costs to employers

1.9 million residents in the state get their coverage through MassHealth

BOSTON (WWLP) – Health care spending makes up about 40 percent of the state budget, but lawmakers want to put some of those costs onto employers to curb the state’s health care spending.

Governor Charlie Baker signed a new law further regulating employer contributions to health care, a move that will put $200 million in new fees on Massachusetts employers.

The legislation increases employers’ medical fees, known as the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution, from $51 to $77 per employee.

Baker will agree to new health care fees, fines on employers

Also under the plan, some employers could be fined up to $750 per employee for workers on MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program.

The business community is resisting the move. President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts Jon Hurst told 22News that these fees will put extra burden on small businesses.

“Their sales, in many cases, are not going up,” Hurst said. “Yet their costs are going up; something’s gotta give there and that’s why we’re starting to see proliferating dark store fronts across the Commonwealth.”

About 1.9 million residents get their coverage through MassHealth.