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General Laws

Section 18. (a) The authority shall, upon verification of the provision of services and costs to a state-funded employee, assess a free rider surcharge on the non-providing employer under regulations promulgated by the authority.

(b) The amount of the free rider surcharge on non-providing employers shall be determined by the authority under regulations promulgated by the authority, and assessed by the authority not later than 3 months after the end of each hospital fiscal year, with payment by non-providing employers not later than 180 days after the assessment. The amount charged by the authority shall be greater than 10 per cent but not greater than 100 per cent of the cost to the state of the services provided to the state-funded employee, considering all payments received by the state from other financing sources for free care; provided, that the “cost to the state” for services provided to any state-funded employee may be determined by the authority as a percentage of the state’s share of aggregate costs for health services. The free rider surcharge shall only be triggered upon incurring $50,000 or more, in any hospital fiscal year, in free care services for any employer’s employees, or dependents of such persons, in aggregate, regardless of how many state-funded employees are employed by that employer.

(c) The formula for assessing free rider surcharges on non-providing employers shall be set forth in regulations promulgated by the authority that shall be based on factors including, but not limited to: (i) the number of incidents during the past year in which employees of the non-providing employer received services reimbursed by the health safety net office under section 69 of chapter 118E; (ii) the number of persons employed by the non-providing employer; and (iii) the proportion of employees for whom the non-providing employer provides health insurance.

(d) If a state-funded employee is employed by more than 1 non-providing employer at the time the state-funded employee receives services, the authority shall assess a free rider surcharge on each said employer consistent with the formula established by the authority under this section.

(e) The authority shall specify by regulation appropriate mechanisms for implementing free rider surcharges on non-providing employers. Said regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the following provisions: (i) appropriate mechanisms that provide for determination and payment of the surcharge by a non-providing employer including requirements for data to be submitted by employers, employees, acute hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers, and other persons; and (ii) penalties for nonpayment or late payment by the non-providing employer, including assessment of interest on the unpaid liability at a rate not to exceed an annual percentage rate of 18 per cent and late fees or penalties at a rate not to exceed 5 per cent per month.

(f) All surcharge payments made under this section shall be deposited into the Commonwealth Care Trust Fund, established under section 2000 of chapter 29.

(g) A non-providing employer’s liability to the Commonwealth Care Trust Fund shall, in the case of a transfer of ownership, be assumed by the successor in interest to the non-providing employer’s interest.

(h) If a non-providing employer fails to file any data, statistics or schedules or other information required under this chapter or by any regulation promulgated by the authority, the authority shall provide written notice of the required information. If the employer fails to provide information within 2 weeks of receipt of said notice, or if it falsifies the same, it shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each week on which such violation occurs or continues, which penalty may be assessed in an action brought on behalf of the commonwealth in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(i) The attorney general shall bring any appropriate action, including injunctive relief, as may be necessary for the enforcement of this chapter.

(j) No employer shall discriminate against any employee on the basis of the employee’s receipt of free care, the employee’s reporting or disclosure of the employer’s identity and other information about the employer, the employee’s completion of a Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure form, or any facts or circumstances relating to “free rider” surcharges assessed against the employer in relation to the employee. Violation of this subsection shall constitute a per se violation of chapter 93A.

(k) A hospital, surgical center, health center or other entity that provides uncompensated care pool services shall provide an uninsured patient with written notice of the criminal penalties for committing fraud in connection with the receipt of uncompensated care pool services. The authority shall promulgate a standard written notice form to be made available to health care providers in English and other languages. The form shall further include written notice of every employee’s protection from employment discrimination under this section.

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