Although the recently passed federal tax reform law included a provision repealing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) individual mandate in 2019, a number of states are considering adopting their own requirements that individuals maintain health insurance or pay a penalty. For example, on March 14, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill requiring all Vermont residents to have insurance. The bill requires that the coverage include minimum benefits in various categories, similar to the “essential health benefits” required by the ACA. The bill is now expected to be considered by the State Senate within the next several weeks.
Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R) is believed to support an individual mandate so long as it provides for “alternative enforcement mechanisms” rather than solely a monetary penalty for non-compliance. The current bill, authored by Rep. Timothy Briglin (D), provides for a monetary penalty of indeterminate amount thus far. The mandate would become effective on January 1, 2019.
Individual mandate bills are also currently under consideration in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. Massachusetts’ individual mandate has been in effect since 2007