UMass Medical School health policy expert co-authors report on Massachusetts Health Reform

March 26, 2014

Robert W. Seifert, MPA, principal associate at the Center for Health Law and Economics at UMass Medical School, is co-author of a report that summarizes findings from the 2012 Massachusetts Health Reform Survey (MHRS) commissioned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Coverage and Access Remain Strong, but Costs are Still a Concern: Summary of the 2012 Massachusetts Health Reform Survey, was released on March 26, the same day as a BCBSMA Foundation forum, Beyond Coverage: Turning to Affordability, was held in Boston.

The survey of over 3,000 Massachusetts residents shows strong results regarding coverage and access but raises concerns about affordability. Nearly half of low- to middle-income Massachusetts adults – those earning between 138 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level – reported that they and their families had experienced problems with health care costs, and nearly a quarter of insured adults with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level reported going without needed care because of cost, according to the summary report. Overall, 37.1 percent of adults reported experiencing problems with health care spending over the past year, and 16.4 percent reported going without needed care because of the cost. 

Massachusetts continues to have the highest rate of insurance coverage for non-elderly adults of any state – 94.6 percent – and gaps in coverage have decreased, according to the summary report. Survey respondents reported being generally satis­fied with their health care coverage and rated the quality of care very good or excellent.

Conducted annually by the Urban Institute from fall 2006 to fall 2012 (with the exception of 2011), the Massachusetts Health Reform Survey has tracked the impact of reform for key measures related to access, use of services and affordability of care. The 2012 survey was co-funded by the BCBSMA Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.