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AP News

Officials: US health law a plus for Massachusetts

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts should save hundreds of millions of dollars under the federal Affordable Care Act, but some workers could end up paying more for coverage.

State health officials said Wednesday that Massachusetts could reap an additional $200 million in federal reimbursements during the current fiscal year and $400 million in the fiscal year that begins next July.

Health officials said the new law could also mean higher health care costs for some workers and lower costs for others.

They said about 377,000 employees of small businesses and 14,000 individuals who buy their insurance could see costs increase, while about 256,000 employees and 69,000 individuals could see their costs drop.

Officials said the increases could be up to 10 percent and spread out over three years.

Massachusetts is working to reconcile its landmark 2006 health law with the 2010 federal law it inspired. The transition will involve some disruption.

About 150,000 individuals now insured through the state's subsidized Commonwealth Care program will have to re-enroll in health care plans after Oct. 1. Another 100,000 individuals will be shifted from Commonwealth Care into the state's Medicaid program and another 45,000 people currently without insurance will become eligible for the MassHealth program.

Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor said Massachusetts is in a novel position since the state law was the blueprint for the law signed by President Barack Obama. Massachusetts also has the highest percentage of insured residents in the country.

"We have the unique challenge of protecting enormous success," Shor said.

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