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New state health insurance laws

Massachusetts will take a giant step toward universal health care coverage for all residents on July 1, with the implementation of the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Plan.

Under the plan, employers with 11 or more full-time employees will be required to offer health insurance coverage or assist employees in paying for their own coverage. Although the deadline is fast approaching, many local business and community leaders may be struggling with the requirements and financial impact of the new regulations. Employers may also have concerns about health care cost trends and the increasing burden they are compelled to bear.

A symposium entitled "Health Care Access and Affordability: The Future for Western Massachusetts Businesses" will be held on Monday, June11, at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Business and community leaders attending this symposium will learn details of the new health reform regulations and will have the opportunity to participate in meaningful discussion about the way these and other changes in the regional healthcare landscape will impact Western Massachusetts businesses.

Featured speakers for the program include Jon Kingsdale, Ph.D., Executive Director, Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority and Alan Sager, Ph.D., Professor of Health Services and Director of the Health Reform Program at the Boston University School of Public Health. The program will also include an interactive panel discussion with the audience focusing on practical ways employers can influence health care costs and the destiny of access and affordability.

"Now, more than ever, business and community leaders will be called to take a proactive role in defining the health care strategy for the future economic health of the region," said Vincent J. McCorkle, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Sisters of Providence Health System. "We're fortunate to have Dr. Kingsdale and Dr. Sager, two recognized experts in health care reform, to help facilitate this timely and important dialogue."

The symposium is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude at 11 a.m. Continental breakfast will be available starting at 8 a.m. Admission to the symposium is complimentary, but seating is limited. To attend, please call 748-9780 or visit