April 2, 2021


MA Passes Unemployment Insurance Relief Law


Yesterday Governor Baker (in part) signed into law a legislative package that includes an Unemployment Insurance tax rate freeze, a PPP loan state tax fix for pass-through entities, and a COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick leave program.  In signing H.90, An Act financing a program for improvements to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and providing relief to employers and workers in the Commonwealth, the Governor returned certain sections of the bill to the Legislature with recommended amendments pertaining  to how employers would be compensated by the state under the newly created emergency sick leave program.     To read more click here.


Advanced Payment of Sales Tax Changes Effective TODAY - DOR Releases Final
Guidance Allowing for Flexibility Sought by RAM

The MA Department of Revenue (DOR) has issued the final TIR: 21-4: Tax Provisions in the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, guidance relative to the implementation of the advanced payment of sales/meals/room taxes (prepayment) as required by provisions passed in last year’s budget.  The changes are effective April 1, 2021.  All RAM members are urged to closely review the new guidance, which will require many members to make two payments in April – the regular remittance for the month of March and an advanced April payment for the first 21 days of sales.  However, the Department has seemed to provide for some temporary flexibility in calculating the advanced payment. To read more click here


SBA to Increase Lending Limit for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans


The U.S. Small Business Administration is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting the week of April 6, 2021, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.  Questions about SBA COVID-19 EIDL and disaster loan payments can be emailed to [email protected] or directed to SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.  To learn more click here to read the SBA press release. 


Gov. Baker Signs Climate Change Law


Governor Baker has signed into law an omnibus climate change bill, now Chapter 8 of the Acts of 2021, An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy.  The new law puts the state on a path toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and updates the state’s energy efficiency standards for certain appliances.  Appliance sellers should take note of the new standards and the covered products, which impacts new products sold after January 1, 2022.


Fallon Health to Discontinue
Small Group Health Plans


This week, Fallon Health announced its plans to exit the commercial health insurance market.  Under the plan, Fallon will immediately stop selling small group plans to new customers as of April 1, 2021, and discontinue issuing renewal offers for current policies with anniversary dates beyond June 1, 2021.  Impacted policyholders will be notified by Fallon 90 days in advance of their plan anniversary date.  To learn more please visit fallonhealth.org/faq or contact your Fallon Account Manager.
RAM members exploring alternative coverage options in light of this news from Fallon are reminded that the RAM Health Insurance Cooperative continues to provide members access to discounted health insurance plans.  All plans offered through the program come with a 3% premium discount, including all small group plans offered by our carrier partner Blue Cross.  All available Blue Cross plans also come with free value added ancillary benefits and the ability to receive a year end incentive equal to 7.5% of premium based on wellness participation.  Members with questions regarding RAMHIC may contact RAM General Counsel Ryan Kearney, at 617-523-1900 or via email at [email protected].  To learn more please visit  our website.


MA Lottery Discontinues Season Ticket
Sales at Brick and Mortar Stores


Massachusetts Lottery Agent members are advised that effective April 4th, Season Tickets will no longer be available for purchase at retail locations.  All Season Tickets must be purchased online or by phone.  For more information, members may contact their account representative at the MA Lottery or visit the Season Ticket page on the Lottery website.  Read the MA Lottery’s Press Release here.