Massachusetts Health Care Reform and the FEHBP

Many of the press reports that I have read about the newly enacted Massachusetts health care reform plan have focused on the individual mandate to purchase health insurance. A Heritage Foundation report, Edmund F. Haislmaier points out that the key component of the reform plan is a “Connector” which will allow consumers a choice of health insurance plans. Small businesses (50 employees or less) would be able to designate the Connector as its group insurance plan. This is very similar to the structure of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. In the FEHBP, OPM contracts with health plan carriers that offer their benefit arrangements to federal employees and annuitants. In another Heritage Foundation report, Prof. Regina Herzlinger favorably contrasts the Massachusetts reform with Maryland’s Walmart play or pay mandate.