Massachusetts law about health insurance

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on health insurance law by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

St. 2017, c.120 Mandating coverage for birth control added Nov. 20, 2017

MGL c.111M Individual Health Coverage
The Massachusetts Mandated Health Insurance Law, added by St. 2006, c.58, which also amended many other sections. Key provisions of the law include subsidized health insurance for residents earning less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level and low-cost insurance for all other residents who are not eligible for insurance through their employers.

MGL c.175I through MGL c.176Q cover various types of health insurance, including HMO, PPO, Group, Non-Group, and more. 

Massachusetts regulations

956 CMR Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority

Federal law

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PL 111-148 (HR 3590) 
The federal Health Care law is over 900 pages long. Changes include increased protection for those with pre-existing conditions, heightened penalties for certain employers who don't provide insurance, additional availability of insurance for children up to age 26, closure of the medicare "donut hole" for prescription drug coverage, and more.

Federal regulations

45 CFR 147.132 Religious exemptions in connection with coverage of certain preventive health services.

Selected case law

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 573 US 22 (2014)
Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, closely-held corporations are not required to follow the Affordable Care Act's mandate that insurance cover contraceptives, if to do so would violate their sincere religious beliefs.

Finch v. Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, 461 Mass. 232 (2012)
Coverage for legal immigrants. "Section 31(a) [of St.2009, c.65] cannot pass strict scrutiny. The discrimination against legal immigrants that its limiting language embodies violates their rights to equal protection under the Massachusetts Constitution."

King v. Burwell, 576 US __ (2015) Under the Affordable Care Act, taxpayers are eligible for a tax credit "for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act," including both Federal and State Exchanges. " Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid."

Massachusetts v. U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services, U.S. Dist, Mass, Civil Action No. 17-11930-NMG (March 12, 2018)
U.S. District Court dismissed Massachusetts's challenge to Federal regulations that allow employers to use a "moral exemption" to deny insurance coverage for birth control. In part because Massachusetts has its own law requiring coverage for birth control for certain employers, the court ruled that the "Commonwealth has not established that it is likely that any Massachusetts employers will avail themselves of the ... expanded exemptions." 

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 US 519 (2012). Individual mandate is legal. “The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance...The federal government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance.”

Texas v. United States, US Dist. Court, Northern District of Texas, Civil Action No. 4:18-cv-00167-O (December 2018)
Rules ACA unconstitutional. Without a penalty, the individual mandate requiring health insurance is unconstitutional, and "the Individual Mandate is inseverable from the ACA’s remaining provisions" and so the whole law must be thrown out.

Web sources

Consumer Guide to Health Care Coverage, Mass. Division of Insurance
Extensive resource details who has to have insurance, types of plans, costs, finding a provider, and more

Eligibility of Non-Citizens for MassHealth & other subsidized coverage Mass. Legal Services, 2018
"summarizes the current immigrant eligibility rules applicable to pregnant women, children, young adults, and other adults for MassHealth and other subsidized health coverage. It includes Appendices listing different categories of immigrants eligible for different kinds of benefits under health program rules."

Frequently Asked Questions About COBRA Continuation Health Coverage, US Dept. of Labor
Includes information on eligibility and more
Gateway to federal health insurance programs. You can get information about how the federal law affects you and much more. Massachusetts residents can explore plans and sign up using the Massachusetts Health Connector, below.

Health care reform for individuals, Mass. Dept. of Revenue
Provides detailed information about tax implications of health insurance requirements. 

Massachusetts Health Connector
This is the state agency managing mandatory health insurance. Come here to apply for insurance or buy a health plan.

Your rights in the workplace , Nolo, 2018. 
Chapter 3: Health insurance "provides information about health insurance coverage for current employees and for former employees in the U.S. as well as the state laws on insurance continuation. It also discusses coverage for dependents and the Obamacare." Requires library card for access.

Print sources



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: December 19, 2018