BOSTON – November 24, 2014 – Massachusetts has maintained the high levels of health coverage and access that were achieved by the state's groundbreaking 2006 reform law, but the cost of care continues to remain a significant burden, especially for low- and middle-income individuals and families.
These are among the findings of the 2013 Massachusetts Health Reform Survey (MHRS), commissioned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The MHRS has been conducted annually by the Urban Institute from fall 2006 to fall 2013 (with the exception of 2011) to track the law's impact on access, use of services, and affordability of care.
As in 2012, roughly 40 percent of adults reported that health care costs caused problems for them and their family in 2013 (42.8 percent in 2012 versus 40.8 percent in 2013). Those with higher health care needs due to health or disability issues, those with lower incomes, and those enrolled in a high deductible health plan (with its higher out-of-pocket costs) were more likely to experience problems with the cost of health care.
About the Massachusetts Health Reform Survey:
Conducted annually by the Urban Institute from fall 2006 to fall 2013 (with the exception of 2011), the survey has tracked health insurance coverage, health care access and use of services and affordability of care. The 2013 survey was co-funded by the BCBSMA Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The survey is fielded by the Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS) and is a telephone interview of approximately 3000 non-elderly adults ages 19 to 64 in Massachusetts. There is an oversample of lower-income persons to allow for more detailed analysis of the impact of reform on this population. The 2006-2009 surveys focused on households with landline telephones; the 2010, 2012 and 2013 surveys added cell-phone samples to capture the increasing share of Massachusetts households living in homes without a landline telephone. Lower-income is defined as those families with incomes below 300 percent of the federal poverty level.
About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation:
The mission of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is to expand access to health care for low-income and vulnerable individuals and families in the Commonwealth. The Foundation was founded in 2001 with an initial endowment from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. It operates separately from the company and is governed by its own Board of Directors.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.
About the Urban Institute:
The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban Institute scholars have conducted research and delivered evidence-based solutions that improve lives, strengthen communities, and increase the effectiveness of public policy.