Member Updates

Celiac Disease Friendly Restaurants in Massachusetts

May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. If you have the disease, or a gluten sensitivity, going out to eat can be a challenge. We looked at top choices from Find Me Gluten Free—a website dedicated to help people with gluten-sensitivity find safe restaurant choices—to share some top Massachusetts locations. Luckily, there are many restaurants all over Commonwealth that offer delicious, gluten-free and allergen-friendly options. Here are just a few options available: Sunset Grill and Pizza, Amherst, MA Looking for a quick bite out to eat with friends? Customers with Celiac Disease find it hard to find safe pizza option without a lot of research ahead of time, but Sunset Grill and Pizza makes it easy with its variety of gluten-free pizzas, sandwiches, and desserts. One customer even claimed that “eating here makes me feel like I don’t have Celiac!” Woodman’s of Essex, Essex, MA There are many good seafood options in New England, and Woodman’s in Essex offers a wide variety of options for all types of customers. Customers with gluten allergies can enjoy fried favorites like calamari and french-fries without worry, making the restaurant widely popular among customers with 96% of 60 voters rating it as Celiac-friendly and an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars among 65 reviewers. Milford Pizza Palace, Milford, MA If you think Celiac Disease means you are banned from pizza forever, think again. This Worcester County restaurant not only has an entire Gluten-Free menu, but the menu also lists every single ingredient [...]

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019|

ABCs of Health Insurance: Words to Know

Not really sure how a co-payment is different from co-insurance? Do you only “Kinda, sorta” understand deductibles? Health insurance has a language of its own and you want to be sure you’re choosing the right plan. Here, we’ll try to help you by explaining some of the most common terms you’ll see while you’re shopping for—and using—your insurance. Premium The amount you pay each month for your health insurance. You must pay your premium every month, whether or not you use health care services. The Health Connector will send you a bill for your premium each month. The premium will always be due by the 23rd of the month. Deductible The total amount you must pay in a plan year before your plan will pay for part or all of your services. Some services may not have a deductible. They may be free or just have a co-pay, even though you haven’t met the deductible yet. Co-pay A fixed price you pay when you get certain health care services. Not all services require a co-pay. Co-insurance If a health care service has co-insurance, you pay a percentage (part) of the cost for that service. Usually, you start to pay co-insurance after you meet your deductible. It is not a fixed cost like a co-pay. The amount you pay depends on the total cost of [...]

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019|

3 Tips to Find the Right Health Care Provider

You’re in the market for a new primary care provider. Maybe you’re in college and you’ve aged out of the pediatrician you’ve been seeing since you were young. Maybe you’re moving to a new city. Or, maybe your current provider is retiring. Either way, finding a provider can be challenging. Here are some tips to help make your search easier. 1. Ask your friends and family Do you have any family members or friends who live in your area? After all, you’re looking for someone to take care of you and keep you healthy, so who better to ask than people you trust and care about you? While you can look reviews online—and this is a good option if you don’t know anyone in your local area—it is helpful to be able to ask questions about a person’s experiences with area providers. You can count on people you know to give you detailed answers to not only find providers, but help you make decisions. 2. Contact your health plan Some insurance plans may assign you to a provider. This is helpful when you don’t have time to search for a provider who not only takes your insurance, but is also taking new patients. However, you may also be assigned to a provider whose office is difficult to get to from your home or work. If you call your health plan, they may be able to give you a list of the providers in your area [...]

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019|

Thinking about visiting a walk-in center? Here are 3 things to know before you go.

The Health Connector walk-in centers are experiencing longer-than-normal wait times at all locations leading up to the December 23rd enrollment deadline for health and dental insurance that starts January 1st. The good news is that you have options to get application and enrollment help, make a payment, or send documents. 1. Have questions or need help applying or enrolling? For help by phone reporting changes, updating your eligibility, or choosing health or dental plans, you can call customer service at 1-877-623-6765 (TTY 1-877-623-7773 for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled.) Our call center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are also open special hours Saturday, December 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Go to the contact page for more information → 2. Making a payment? If you have a checking or savings account, you can make a payment online through our Payment Center. You can login to make your payment, or make a payment as a guest. Remember, your 2019 plan enrollment is not complete until you’ve made your January premium payment, so don’t wait! Go to our "How to Pay" page to see all of your options now → 3. Need to drop off proof? If you just completed or updated your application and asked to send proof when you received your eligibility results, you have up to 90 days to send your documents. What’s more is you don’t have to wait to send your [...]

Friday, December 21st, 2018|

Massachusetts residents have until Dec. 23 to get covered and #StayCovered for Jan. 1, 2019, coverage

BOSTON – December 10, 2018 – Massachusetts residents who do not have health insurance or need to take action to #StayCovered have until Dec. 23 to enroll or renew coverage through the Massachusetts Health Connector, which holds Open Enrollment longer than the federal government. Open Enrollment in Massachusetts extends through Jan. 23 in Massachusetts, for those who obtain coverage starting in February 2019. Massachusetts residents can go to MAhealthconnector.org to apply and pick a plan. “Dec. 23 is an important deadline for people in Massachusetts who need to get covered or stay covered for the start of the New Year, and we want people to know they have an extra week compared to the federal deadline” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “We want everyone in Massachusetts to have access to affordable health care, and we want to extend every opportunity for residents to sign up or maintain their coverage.” As of Dec. 3, more than 261,000 were already enrolled for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2019. Members or applicants who need help finding coverage for next year can go to the Health Connector website and find a local organization with trained assisters who can help. Included are 16 Navigator organizations across the state, who have 94 individuals available to help, providing assistance in 15 languages. Along with reaching out to the state’s uninsured population through a series of community-based outreach and marketing efforts, the Health Connector is also encouraging people who already have insurance to [...]

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018|Tags: |

World Osteoporosis Day: Three Top Exercises to Do with Osteoporosis

If you’re age 50 or over, you are more likely to develop Osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to lose mass and density when you age, and can potentially lead to broken bones. Even though exercises that are hard on the joints such as running will be more challenging, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel strong and in shape. Here are some types of exercises that will not only give you a good workout, but also help you rebuild strength in your bones. 1. Weight Bearing Aerobics According to the Mayo Clinic, weight-bearing aerobics are important because they work with the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine to slow mineral loss, thus maintaining bone density. These also provide cardiovascular benefits which can boost your heart and circulatory system health. Examples of these types of exercises include dancing, gardening, or even taking a walk around your neighborhood. 2. Stretching Stretching is important for any athlete to reduce joint stiffness and increase flexibility. According to the Cleveland Clinic, however, stretching once or twice a day will help reduce back pain and promote good posture if you have osteoporosis. Yoga and Pilates can be excellent for getting these stretches in, but make sure to avoid certain positions, specifically ones that require you to bend forward because they increase the chance of you breaking a bone in the spine. 3. Strength Training According to Meredith Gibson, a physical therapist at the Cleveland Clinic, strength exercises are important for stimulating bone growth, [...]

Monday, October 15th, 2018|

Massachusetts Health Connector Open Enrollment Encourages Uninsured to Sign up, and Urges Everyone to #StayCovered

The Massachusetts Health Connector starts Open Enrollment on Nov. 1 with affordable, high-quality plans available to the state’s uninsured residents, and a #StayCovered campaign reminding everyone in the Commonwealth of the need to stay insured through the state’s individual mandate. Open Enrollment in Massachusetts runs Nov. 1 through Jan. 23, 2019, and is the time of year anyone without health insurance can sign up for coverage, and when Health Connector members can shop for the best plan for the New Year. The Health Connector will offer 57 plans from nine carriers. In addition to getting people who need coverage into plans for 2019, the Health Connector is also reminding people who already have health insurance that the state’s individual mandate remains in place. Residents who do not have health insurance that meets state standards may face a tax penalty if they do not #StayCovered. “Massachusetts is a leader in health care access and affordability because throughout the Commonwealth people recognize the need and importance of having health insurance, and financial and health benefits that come with being covered,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “Throughout Open Enrollment we will provide a stable experience to people who are signing up for coverage, while also making sure people who already have health insurance maintain coverage in 2019.” Massachusetts has the highest insured rate in the nation, with 97 percent of all residents covered. According to data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Health [...]

Friday, October 12th, 2018|Tags: |

Consumer Alert: Shop smart to avoid health insurance scams

Not all companies selling health insurance are actually selling you good coverage. Some companies may try to sign you up for a “scam plan” that doesn’t meet legal requirements or may not even be real. These plans look affordable on the surface, but they may not offer the services or benefits you need to meet state standards. They may end up leaving you with big bills if you need care. That’s why it’s important to be a smart insurance shopper. Use these tips to watch out for plans that won’t be there for you when you need them, and learn how to find a health plan you can trust. Checklist for choosing health insurance you can trust Beware of unsolicited offers of health coverage over the phone or online. Many predatory companies will call you on your phone. They may use high-pressure sales tactics and claim that they can offer you low-cost access to name-brand health plans. If you get a call from a salesperson offering you health insurance, follow these tips to protect yourself: Research a phone number or company online to check its history. Never share personal information with an unsolicited telemarketer. Know that legitimate calls from the Health Connector about your coverage will only come from 1-877-623-6765, and state that “we’re calling from the Massachusetts Health Connector.” Check with the Division of Insurance (DOI) to make sure the health plan is legitimate. You should only buy health insurance from a company that is licensed by the [...]

Thursday, October 11th, 2018|

National Child Health Day: 5 Tips to Keeping Your Child Healthier

The first Monday in October is National Child Health Day. As the New England air is getting chillier, and cold and flu season is upon us, here are five tips to help keep your child healthy this season. 1. Get the flu shot Needles might make your child nervous—and maybe you, too—but getting the flu shot may help prevent serious illness for the whole family. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by up to 60 percent. Find out where you can get a flu vaccine by asking your primary care provider, going to a local pharmacy, or visiting HealthMap Vaccine Finder at VaccineFinder.org 2. Teach your good child hand hygiene It’s never too early to teach your child to wash their hands after they cough or sneeze, before they eat, when using the bathroom, and when they come in from outside. Regular hand washing throughout the day helps remove potentially harmful germs from their hands that can make them (and other family members) sick. One tip to make sure they cleanse their hands for a the   20-seconds  is to have them  sing “Happy Birthday” or the “ABC” song while washing their hands. 3. Keep your child active Does your child like sports? Not only are sports fun and a good way to learn teamwork, but physical activity also contributes to good health and helps keep their immune systems healthy. According to Harvard Medical School, exercise may contribute to [...]

Friday, September 28th, 2018|

Assistance for Residents of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover

Massachusetts Health Connector is ready to help the individuals, families, and small businesses in the Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover areas who have been affected by recent events. If you currently have Health Connector health coverage If you are already enrolled in a Health Connector health plan but are worried about making your monthly payments during this period, please call us. We will help you with your payments so that you don’t risk losing your health coverage. Individuals and families If you are enrolled in an individual or family plan and need help, please call Health Connector Customer Service at 1-877-MA ENROLL (1-877-623-6765) or TTY: 1-877-623-7773. When you call, let the Customer Service representative know that you live in the Lawrence, North Andover, or Andover area. You can also reach us online. To send a message to our Ombudsman, use our online contact form now. Small businesses If you are a business owner with a Health Connector for Business health plan for your employees and are concerned about maintaining coverage during this time, please contact Health Connector for Business at 1-888-813-9220 (TTY: 711). When you call, let our Customer Service representative know that you live in the Lawrence, North Andover, or Andover area. You can also email us at SmallBusiness@state.ma.us If you need health insurance coverage The Health Connector offers affordable, high-quality health insurance coverage. Most people who apply for health insurance through us are able to get a $0 or low monthly cost plan. In less than one hour, [...]

Friday, September 21st, 2018|