An act relative to exempting human services organizations from making EMAC Supplemental payments

Bill Sponsor

Sen. Michael Moore and Rep. Gerry Cassidy

Bill Status

Hearing held on House Bill 1594 and Senate Bill 1098 by Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development in March 2019.

Purpose of the Bill

This bill would exempt community-based, nonprofit human services organizations — which care for vulnerable residents on behalf of the Commonwealth and are primarily funded by state contracts — from making Employer Medical Assistance Contribution Supplemental payments.

Key Facts:

  • Human services organizations provide critical care on behalf of the Commonwealth to one-in-ten state residents. The Commonwealth is the primary — and in many cases, the only — purchaser of these services.
  • Many human services workers’ salaries start between $12 and $13 an hour.
  • One-in-eight human services workers is living at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). As these employees are low paid and meet certain income-based thresholds, they qualify for subsidized health insurance through MassHealth or the Health Connector.
  • The human services sector is reliant on part-time workers to help fill the nearly 180,000 jobs in the workforce. Many staff do not work enough hours to qualify for their employer’s health insurance, forcing organizations to make a Supplemental payment instead.
  • The DUA’s EMAC Supplemental Waiver did not consider the unique situation of the human services sector, making the waiver unusable for most organizations.

If passed, this legislation would:

  • Compel the director of the Department of Unemployment Assistance to develop a waiver to fully exempt community-based human services organizations holding purchase-of-service contracts with EOHHS, EOEA, DEEC and DHCD.
  • Fully exempt these organizations from making any payments under the EMAC Supplement.
  • Allow community-based human services organizations to improve services to clients and raise salaries for low-paid workers rather than make EMAC Supplemental payments to the Commonwealth.
  • Help improve the quality of care delivered to the one-in-ten residents of the Commonwealth served by the community-based human services sector.

For more information: Email Bill Yelenak or call 508.599.2258.

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