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Massachusetts health plan gets high marks: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A large majority of Massachusetts residents are satisfied with the commonwealth's subsidized health plan, which has components similar to the Obama administration's federal plan, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The poll by Market Decisions, a research and consulting group, found that 84 percent of residents are satisfied with the Massachusetts plan, which requires most adults to have health insurance. A similar requirement in President Barack Obama's health plan has been challenged by a group of states in the courts and the case is working its way through appeals.

The poll of 696 people found that 31 percent of individuals had had a healthcare provider reject their insurance plan and 23 percent were told a doctor was not taking any new patients.

The state health plan, launched under former Governor Mitt Romney, was given high marks for the range of services and the quality of care offered, according to the poll.

The program, Commonwealth Care, is targeted at low-income individuals earning up to $32,676 a year; families of four can qualify with earnings of up to $66,168 a year.

Premiums ranged from $10 to $151 a month, and only 17 percent of those surveyed said they had problems paying their medical bills.

The survey also found that individuals enrolled in Commonwealth Care used the emergency room at about the same rate as all other residents.

The survey was conducted from October 19 to November 30 and had a margin of error of 3.7 percent. It was released by the Massachusetts Health Connector, which helps individuals find insurance coverage.

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