Employer Health Care Assessment Takes Effect

On January 1, 2018, the new temporary Employer Health Care Assessment (EMAC) took effect. Employer charges for the new assessment will be included in 2018 first quarter unemployment insurance bills. Details of the new health care assessment include:

  • A January 1, 2018 effective date with a sunset 2 years after implementation.
  • For employers with 6 or more employees, an increase in the existing employer medical assistance contribution (EMAC) of $26 per employee annually.
  • For employers with 6 or more employees who have employees on MassHealth or ConnectorCare, an additional charge for each employee receiving those benefits (5% of the first $15,000 of annual pay to a maximum of $750/year).
  • Two years of unemployment insurance relief, estimated to save employers a total of $344 million in 2018 and 2019.
  • Additional details and FAQs can be found here.

During the regulatory process, MNN worked to secure changes to the new charge for workers on MassHealth or Connector Care. In November, MNN testified at a hearing on draft regulations for the assessment and urged changes to them. In December, state officials released a final version of the temporary regulations (accessible here), which included two of the changes MNN recommended. The assessment will now only apply to workers on MassHealth or ConnectorCare for at least 8 continuous weeks in a quarter, rather than the two weeks originally proposed. It will also not be assessed on workers who earn less than $500 per quarter in a given job. These changes will provide relief to many nonprofits, including those with employees in short-term or low-hours roles.

Even though the assessment has taken effect, the regulations will still go through one more round of reviews in the first quarter. MNN will continue to advocate for nonprofits throughout the process and if you have questions or feedback, please let us know.