A physician assistant of family medicine wears a stethoscope.
A physician assistant of family medicine wears a stethoscope. - 
Listen To The Story


Scott Jagow: Massachusetts is trying to do something special by getting all its people health care coverage and, by most accounts, the board overseeing the plan is doing a bang-up job. But radical experiments don't work for everyone. Older people are getting a radical sticker shock. Helen Palmer reports from our Health Desk at WGBH.

Helen Palmer: When the board put together Massachusetts' new health coverage it did its level best to make insurance both affordable and financially sound.

That means they need young people, who typically have few health costs, to sign up. Their premiums are fairly low - about $170 a month - but older people face much higher rates.

Deborah Banda: The lowest cost plan available to someone who's aged 56 and above, for example, is around $350 a month in premiums.

Deborah Banda is the state director for seniors' group AARP. She says on top of the premium, out-of-pocket costs can be 20 percent of any medical bills. AARP and other patient organizations want the board to make some changes.

Banda: Yes, we would like them to take a second look at how they define affordability.

The board wants to see how things go this first year before it revamps the coverage options.

In Boston, I'm Helen Palmer for Marketplace.