Press Release

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: |

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: |

Massachusetts Health Connector to provide premium waivers to residents and businesses in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover impacted by Columbia Gas incident

LAWRENCE – September 24, 2018 – To ensure residents impacted by the Columbia Gas incident on Sept. 13 are assured continued health insurance coverage, the Massachusetts Health Connector is expanding its existing premium hardship waiver program to members and small businesses who need assistance. The waivers, for Health Connector and Health Connector for Business members, including ConnectorCare, impacted by the incident, are available through the end of 2018, covering up to three months of premiums and coverage upon demonstrated need. “This crisis turned lives upside-down, and many people are going to be dealing with the impacts for months. Many residents need the financial reassurance that their health insurance is not in danger and they can continue to access care,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “The waiver process is straightforward for members and small businesses, and will allow them to quickly move on to other concerns while ensuring their Health Connector coverage remains in place.” There are currently about 7,500 Health Connector members who live in the three communities impacted by the Sept. 13 gas fires, along with 23 small businesses that provide coverage to employees through Health Connector for Business. Additionally, affected residents who had been in the process of getting into coverage may apply for an extension so they have more time to complete the process. To request a waiver, a member who purchases health insurance for themselves or their family through the Health Connector must contact the Health Connector’s customer service center [...]

Monday, September 24th, 2018|Tags: |

Ready for Open Enrollment, Health Connector sets 2019 plans with lower premium increases, selects community organizations to provide in-person support to residents

Boston – September 13, 2018 – The Massachusetts Health Connector Board of Directors today approved 57 Qualified Health Plans from nine carriers for individuals and families, with new plan designs that create better value for members and premium increases that average under 5 percent from 2018. Also during today’s meeting, the Health Connector announced 16 community groups from around Massachusetts have been selected as Navigators organizations. Their staff use their experience and knowledge to help people get covered and stay covered, both during Open Enrollment and throughout the year. Finalizing the carriers and plans, and selecting Navigator organizations, are part of the process of preparing for Open Enrollment. 2019 Open Enrollment starts Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 23, 2019, and is the time when anyone without health insurance can sign up for coverage, and people with existing coverage can make changes for the New Year. “Through expanded plan offerings and an overall commitment to making health insurance more affordable, we are confident our members will have an Open Enrollment shopping experience that provides valuable options,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “One of the reasons Massachusetts remains the national leader in health care access, with 97 percent of our residents covered, is because of the great work our Navigator organizations do reaching out to their communities and sitting down directly with their clients and ensuring they have strong health insurance.” Since initiating state-based health care reform in 2006 and implementing the Affordable Care Act, [...]

Thursday, September 13th, 2018|Tags: |

Health Connector for Business, New England Business Association Announce Partnership to Deliver Health Insurance Benefits to Massachusetts Small Businesses

BOSTON – March 1, 2018 – The Massachusetts Health Connector for Business and the New England Business Association announced today a partnership that will make it easier for Massachusetts small businesses to access the affordable health insurance options created by Health Connector for Business. The new partnership creates a statewide visibility and access partnership that will make it easy for New England Business Association members to access Health Connector for Business and provide health insurance to employees. The agreement is the first of its kind for Health Connector for Business, which unveiled a new online experience in November 2017 that created an easy-to-use platform offering savings to business owners and plan choice to employees. “We are excited by this partnership with the New England Business Association, which will make it easier for thousands of small employers to access health insurance through Health Connector for Business,” said Massachusetts Health Connector Executive Director Louis Gutierrez. “Through the new platform, employers can quickly determine their costs and benefits for the year, while offering their employees the flexibility to pick their own plan from a range of health insurers for the first time ever in the Massachusetts small group market.” “Small business owners are keenly aware of the costs associated with health care benefits and yet also understand how important this benefit is to attract new employees and to develop a culture of employee satisfaction,” said New England Business Association President and Chief Executive Officer Karim Hill. “This partnership will dramatically change the way [...]

Thursday, March 1st, 2018|Tags: , |

Massachusetts Health Connector completes successful Open Enrollment with stable membership, providing affordable, quality coverage to 250,000 members

BOSTON – February 8, 2018 – The Massachusetts Health Connector finished Open Enrollment on Jan. 23 with stable membership, despite premium increases that occurred as a result of federal policy changes just weeks before the start of Open Enrollment. As of Feb. 1, the Health Connector had 252,786 people in health coverage for February enrollments, compared to 246,831 as of Feb. 1 last year. In October, less than a month before the start of Open Enrollment, the Health Connector and the Division of Insurance allowed carriers to use increased premiums for some Silver tier plans sold through the Health Connector, in order to maintain market stability in the face of the federal government’s decision to stop making cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to carriers. That decision meant that many unsubsidized Health Connector members faced premium increases averaging 26 percent higher than 2017.  The Health Connector encouraged shopping for less expensive plans on the exchange, and also assisted members who chose to leave the exchange for similar, lower-cost plans through their carrier. “Our goal every Open Enrollment is to expand access to affordable coverage to people who do not have health insurance, and to ensure that our current members are able to maintain quality coverage that best suits their needs,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. We were able to not only help thousands of people get new health insurance through the Health Connector, but also help tens of thousands of others maintain coverage, even if it [...]

Thursday, February 8th, 2018|Tags: , , |

Reminder: Massachusetts Health Connector Deadline for January 2018 Coverage is Dec. 23

BOSTON – December 11, 2017 – Massachusetts residents who want health insurance have until Dec. 23 to sign up for coverage through the Massachusetts Health Connector, which holds Open Enrollment longer than the federal government. While the deadline for states that use the federal Healthcare.gov portal is Friday, Dec. 15, since Massachusetts is a state-based exchange, the Health Connector uses different deadlines. For people who want to start the new year with health insurance or change their plan for 2018, the deadline to select and pay for the plan is Saturday, Dec. 23. Residents seeking 2018 coverage can go to MAhealthconnector.org to apply and pick a plan. “December 23 is our most important deadline of the year, as new applicants get into coverage and our current members review their plan status for 2018, and it’s important that people know that they have more time in Massachusetts beyond the federal deadline,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “We understand how important it is to have health insurance – for people to be able to go to the doctor and have it cost them less to be healthy – and we want to extend to them every opportunity to sign up.” Throughout Open Enrollment, the Health Connector is providing full outreach and support services to Massachusetts residents as it has in past years. This includes an Open Enrollment period that runs through Jan. 23, 2018 (for coverage starting in February 2018), fully supporting 16 Navigator organizations throughout [...]

Massachusetts Health Connector Members and New Applicants Take Early Action at Start of 2018 Open Enrollment

BOSTON – November 20, 2017 – With a stable system and user process complemented by a proactive outreach and education effort, the Massachusetts Health Connector has seen members and new applicants more active in the first two weeks of Open Enrollment compared to last year. Through Nov. 15, plans selected and enrollments are more than 40 percent higher than last year at the same time, new program determinations for Health Connector are up nearly 70 percent, and plans selected and enrollments by new members are up more than 15 percent. “It is encouraging to see people hearing our message to shop for new coverage, and taking early advantage of Open Enrollment and finding the plan that best fits their needs for the new year,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “We hope all of our current members take time to review their coverage for next year, and people who don’t currently have health insurance sign up so they have the health and financial security that comes with having coverage next year.” In the first 15 days of Open Enrollment, 26,343 people selected a plan or enrolled by paying their first premium for 2018, compared to 18,695 in the first 15 days of last year’s Open Enrollment. Of those plan selections and enrollments, 7,219 people are getting new coverage through the Health Connector, compared to 6,200 last year. So far in the first 15 days of Open Enrollment, 15,713 new people were determined eligible for Health [...]

Baker-Polito Administration Secures Additional Year of Flexibility to Maintain Health Insurance Market Stability for Small Businesses

BOSTON – November 13, 2018 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced it has secured from the U.S. Department of Human Services the flexibility to extend another year the existing use of small group rating factors to hold down premium increases and maintain stability in the market for small employers. The rating factors are permitted under state law, but are not aligned with requirements under federal law. Through a series of requests to the federal government, the Commonwealth has been able to maintain those state rating factors in order to avoid market disruption and maintain premium consistency for small employers. “We thank our federal partners for authorizing the continued use of state rating factors to provide stability and stabilize premium costs for small businesses in Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With this important flexibility in place, we can continue to provide predictability to the market and continue to make health insurance more affordable to companies and their employees.” Massachusetts received a waiver in 2013 to allow a gradual transition to full compliance with the Affordable Care Act, and the waiver recognized the success of Massachusetts’ state health reform law passed in 2006 in expanding coverage. Massachusetts has the highest insured rate in the nation, with 97.5 percent of residents covered, an achievement supported by the latitude to continue some state insurance practices, such as rating factors permitted under state law. These state rating factors offer insurers greater flexibility to price insurance plans according to the traditional practices of the Massachusetts market, [...]

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017|Tags: , |

Health Connector Starts Open Enrollment 2018 With Full Range of Outreach and Support Activities

BOSTON – November 1, 2017 – The Massachusetts Health Connector starts Open Enrollment 2018 today, providing members and new applicants the opportunity to pick a health insurance plan for the New Year, and officially kicking off a full-scale, statewide outreach and education campaign. Massachusetts has the highest insured rate in the country, with 97.5 percent of the state’s residents covered according to the U.S. Census. The lead up to Open Enrollment has created national concern about outreach activities, particularly in states that are part of the federal government Exchange. Consistent with the Commonwealth’s mission to support access to affordable health coverage for everyone, the campaign emphasizes outreach and visibility in communities with higher uninsured rates. “Massachusetts is a leader in coverage and we remain committed to reaching everyone and providing access to health care to everyone,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “Through our Navigators, community-based outreach, enrollment events and other methods, we are bringing the same energy to Open Enrollment as we have in past years.” Open Enrollment starts on Nov. 1, and runs through Jan. 23, 2018, longer than the Nov. 1-Dec. 15 federal deadline, and is consistent with past Massachusetts Open Enrollment periods. The Health Connector is planning a number of other outreach and enrollment support activities this year that mirrors the Exchange’s past commitment to comprehensive Open Enrollment activities. The Health Connector will fully fund the second year of its two-year grant cycle commitment to Navigators, supporting 16 agencies across the [...]

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017|