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Mandatory Private Insurance Is Unaffordable

I think most people don't realize the consequences of this insurance mandate in Massachusetts because they have insurance at work or they're getting some other subsidy. They don't realize the full cost. But they could be in our situation someday.

Until this year we had health coverage through my husband's employer for about $300 a month with drug coverage. It was a good policy. But he lost that job and was out of work for 8 1/2 months. He finally got another IT job but with no benefits. We've been paying the doctor out of pocket when we need to and considering we are quite healthy that suits us just fine.

Now the state is forcing us to buy "health insurance" we don't need. The worst thing is they treat us like criminals. We always paid our taxes, our bills, and any other financial commitment, but this unjustified expense is not of our choosing.

We are in our late 40s. The only policy that would work for us - based on the state guidelines - costs about $720 a month, not including copayments. That's far more than our total medical expenses have been up to now. There were slightly cheaper premiums but with high deductibles, so they wouldn't actually be cheaper.

Premiums are totally outrageous in this Ponzi scheme. Our income will be too high to get the subsidized coverage, but not enough to afford $720 a month. The state won't take into account our hardship or our loss of savings. You have to be practically homeless or in foreclosure before they'll give a waiver.

While my husband was out of work, we struggled but paid all of our bills by using our savings, breaking a CD and paying a penalty with each withdrawal.

Now we want to put a few hundred dollars back into savings every month. But if we had to pay for insurance, we'd have no savings, and we'd also have to deplete our CD.

We feel like we made reasonable choices and tried to save a little when we could. We are responsible, law-abiding citizens and we're being punished just as we're getting back on our feet.

First, if we don't buy the insurance before December 31, we'll lose our state tax deduction. Then, beginning January 2008 the state will bill us for up to half the cost, even though we'd be getting nothing for it. This feels like a scam to make money for the insurance companies and even the state.

What they call "health insurance" is in reality a walloping tax.

We are taking this one month at a time. Having lived in Massachusetts for 22 years, we have ties here, including family. We don't want to leave but we feel forced out.