Press Release

Massachusetts Health Connector Members Are Active Shoppers in First Days of Open Enrollment

Many callers using new shopping queue, usage of online provider significantly outpaces last year BOSTON – November 15, 2016 – Massachusetts Health Connector members, many of whom are facing significant premium changes for 2017, have been active shoppers in the first 11 days of Open Enrollment, considering new options for next year. Since the start of Open Enrollment on Nov. 1 through Nov. 11, one-in-five calls to the customer service line have been to a new shopping queue that gives members access to specially-trained representatives designated to work specifically on shopping questions. Also, online users are using the Health Connector’s provider search tool 90 percent more than the first 11 days of last year. “It is encouraging to see so many people taking the time to ‘stop, shop, enroll’ at the start of Open Enrollment, and I hope all of our members take the time to consider what plan is best for next year,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “While premiums for next year are increasing for many of our members, it is quite likely most people can save money and maintain the same level of benefits they currently enjoy, particularly in our ConnectorCare program.” For those in unsubsidized plans experiencing higher increases, the Health Connector likely offers other plans with similar benefits and lower premiums. In the ConnectorCare program, which uses federal and state subsidies to lower members’ costs, almost everyone experiencing an increase can find a lower-cost plan with the same benefit structure [...]

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016|

Massachusetts Health Connector Visits Locations throughout the State, Highlighting ‘Hidden Gems’ and Start of Open Enrollment

Starting Nov. 1, Open Enrollment allows uninsured residents to apply for health insurance, and gives members the chance to shop for new coverage for 2017 OCTOBER 25, 2016 – A week before the start of Open Enrollment, the Massachusetts Health Connector crossed the Commonwealth as part of its one-day, statewide “Hidden Gems” tour to show off an outstanding local gem, and discuss the benefits of getting health insurance through the Health Connector. Open Enrollment starts Nov. 1, and is the time of year when anyone without health insurance can get coverage. It is also the time when current Health Connector members can shop for new coverage for 2017, making sure they have a plan that meets their health needs while also being as affordable as possible. “Open Enrollment offers citizens, both the uninsured and insured, the best opportunity to examine and make choices about their health insurance plan based on their individual and families’ health care needs and their budget,” said Marylou Sudders, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. “With ample choices, our goal is that everyone in the Commonwealth will find an affordable plan and have access to quality health care.” “The Massachusetts hidden gems tour is all about highlighting great places people might not be aware of,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Health Connector. “With costs for certain health premiums rising sharply next year, we are encouraging both current and new members to ‘Stop, Shop, Enroll’ on the Massachusetts Connector health [...]

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016|

Health Connector Announces Outreach and Enrollment Navigators for Open Enrollment 2017

BOSTON – Thursday, September 8, 2016 –The Massachusetts Health Connector today announced 15 community groups from around Massachusetts have been selected as Navigators, using their experience and knowledge to help people without coverage sign up for insurance during Open Enrollment and throughout the year. Open Enrollment starts November 1 and runs through January 31, 2017, and is the time of year when anyone who does not have health insurance can sign up for coverage through the Health Connector, and those with existing coverage can consider a new plan for the next year. The Health Connector is the state’s health insurance Exchange, and is the only outlet for people to buy a commercial health plan and receive financial assistance to help pay for it. “Having health insurance means you can get the care you need and pay less for it, particularly if you qualify for the ConnectorCare program, which has low premiums and co-pays, and no deductible,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “Navigators can help us find uninsured people in their neighborhoods, and help those people apply for coverage and pick the best plan for their family.” Navigators are community organizations that help uninsured people complete an application and select a plan, and they can also assist currently-insured people shop and make sure they are in the right plan for 2017. The Health Connector’s network of Navigators will focus on outreach and assistance in areas across the state with higher rates of uninsured residents, working [...]

Thursday, September 8th, 2016|

Massachusetts Health Care Law Turns 10

Since the landmark Massachusetts heath care reform law was enacted by former Governor Mitt Romney on April 12, 2006, the Commonwealth has since gained one of the highest insured rates in the nation. Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents and small businesses have been able to access high-quality and affordable coverage through the Massachusetts Health Connector. PRESS RELEASE: State House Leaders Issue Statements on Ten Year Anniversary of Universal Health Care in Massachusetts Health Care Reform Timeline Health Reform is signed into law. Commonwealth Care opens enrollment for people with incomes below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level. Commonwealth Care opens for people with incomes of up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. Open enrollment begins for Commonwealth Choice. With some exceptions, Massachusetts adults must have health insurance. Any health insurance plan licensed for sale in Massachusetts qualifies at this date. All employers with 11 or more full-time-equivalent employees in Massachusetts must offer a Section 125 Plan that meets Health Connector standards.  Employers who fail to do this may be charged part of the cost when an employee needs state help to pay for urgently needed medical care. Employers with 11 or more full-time-equivalent Massachusetts employees must make a “fair and reasonable” contribution toward an employee health plan or pay a state assessment of up to $295 per employee, per year. Massachusetts adults must show that they have enrolled in a health insurance plan or lose their personal income tax deduction on [...]

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016|

Last Chance: Open Enrollment at the Massachusetts Health Connector Ends January 31

BOSTON – January 25, 2016 – Open Enrollment at the Massachusetts Health Connector, when anyone that needs health insurance can apply and potentially get access to financial help paying for coverage, ends on Jan. 31, and assistance applying is available throughout the state for those who still need health insurance. The Health Connector is the only way people in Massachusetts can access low cost health plans through the ConnectorCare program and federal advance premium tax credits. For those who apply and pick a plan by Jan. 31, their coverage will start on March 1. People that miss the deadline may be locked out of insurance until the next Open Enrollment period, and might face a tax penalty as a result. “During this Open Enrollment period, more than 30,000 people have signed up for new coverage through the Health Connector, and a vast majority are getting help paying for their monthly premiums,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “As we near the January 31 deadline, our walk-in centers and Navigators across the Commonwealth are still available to help people finish an application and pick the plan that best suits their needs.” The Health Connector’s ConnectorCare program offers eligible applicants plans with low premiums (many under $100), low co-pays, and no deductibles. The ConnectorCare program is open to individuals making up to $35,310, and families of four earning up to $72,750. Advance premium tax credits are available to people making up to $47,000, and families of four [...]

Monday, January 25th, 2016|

Massachusetts Health Connector Ombudsman Program Creates Additional Customer Service Avenue

BOSTON – September 28, 2015 – As it works to improve customer service and prepare for the next Open Enrollment period, the Massachusetts Health Connector announced the establishment of an Ombudsman Office effective today, which will give members an advocate to help resolve serious service issues. “The Health Connector continues to reshape and improve our Customer Service experience based primarily on feedback from our members,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Health Connector. “The goal is to have our members’ needs met each time they contact us. However, in those cases where members are highly dissatisfied and have exhausted regular service routes, ombudsmen will be available to serve as an advocate as we continue to correct an and improve service for our customers.” The program is in addition to the normal service communications and channels, and is not intended to circumvent the ability of member to get direct service at either walk-in centers around the state or from the call center. A member who needs intervention from the Ombudsman Office can contact the office through the “Contact” section of the Health Connector’s website, MAhealthconnector.org, or by mail at PO Box 960484, Boston, MA 02109-9997. To prepare for Open Enrollment, the Health Connector has made a series of improvements to both the online system and its customer service processes. The online system has improved with additional functionality that allows members to make account changes through the website, and a stronger payment system that eliminates the prospect of declined or [...]

Monday, September 28th, 2015|

Health Connector Announces Community Partners for 2015–16 through the Navigator Grant Program

BOSTON – Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 – The Massachusetts Health Connector today announced the 14 community groups that will work as a Navigator to provide enrollment and renewal support to residents throughout the Commonwealth during Open Enrollment. As the Health Connector prepares for 2016 Open Enrollment, which starts on Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 31, 2016, it will work with Navigators to ensure outreach is penetrating communities with higher rates of uninsured residents and those without insurance are encouraged to apply for coverage. Navigators can also assist current members who have questions about coverage renewing Jan. 1, 2016. “Massachusetts is committed to making health care accessible and affordable to everyone, and we are going to use this upcoming Open Enrollment period to encourage those without health insurance to sign up,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “Our Navigator partners will play a very significant role on the ground in their communities, directly talking to the uninsured and working with them to complete their applications and enrollments.” Navigators are mandated by the Affordable Care Act, and are part of a network of assisters that include more than 1,300 Certified Assistance Councilors, which are predominantly at health-care provider locations. A full list of assisters can be found at the Health Connector’s website. Additionally, the Health Connector will be focusing public education messaging and outreach on communities identified as areas with higher uninsured rates in an effort to reach as many uninsured people as possible during Open [...]

Thursday, August 13th, 2015|

Impacts of Series of Severe Snowstorms Pushes Deadline for Health Insurance Applications to Feb. 23

BOSTON – February 13, 2015 – The Massachusetts Health Connector and MassHealth announced today they are extending the deadline to complete an application and pick a plan to Feb. 23, acknowledging the toll a series of snowstorms in Massachusetts – including another one forecast for this weekend – has taken on operations and the ability for people to sign up for insurance. The deadline was Feb. 15, but the extreme weather has led to a number of days this month with the call center short-staffed, leading to long wait times for consumers looking for assistance. The extension gives applicants an additional week to complete an application, find out if they qualify for MassHealth or Health Connector coverage, select a plan and make a payment as necessary. The Feb. 23 deadline for making a payment stays in place. “We here in Massachusetts have experienced an extraordinary month of weather that has not only limited our operations, but also taken over the day-to-day lives of residents as they shovel out and try to deal with the snow,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “We worked closely with the Baker-Polito Administration to create this extension, which gives people a little more time to finish up what they need to do to get health insurance through the Commonwealth.” Through Feb. 11, more than 464,000 people had completed an application and been determined qualified for MassHealth or a Health Connector Qualified Health Plan. About 343,000 have enrolled in coverage, including [...]

Friday, February 13th, 2015|

Commonwealth, Health Connector Prepared to Offer Coverage to More Than 50,000 with Policies Starting January 1

BOSTON – December 31, 2014 – More than 50,000 people will have new health insurance coverage starting Jan. 1 through the Massachusetts Health Connector, and the Commonwealth is prepared to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible for consumers obtaining their new coverage. Additionally, nearly 140,000 people have been enrolled in MassHealth since Nov. 15, 2014. The health plan’s process of enrolling members into new coverage and delivering an ID card to a member can take 10-14 days, which means many of the people who paid their first month’s premium near the Dec. 28 deadline will not have identification cards in hand on Jan. 1. Their coverage takes effect on that date, however, and the Commonwealth is working with health plans, providers, pharmacies and community organizations to ensure members know they have coverage, and provide guidance on how to work with their health plan to obtain services before they get an ID card. “In the first six weeks of Open Enrollment, nearly 140,000 people signed up for MassHealth, and more than 50,000 selected and paid for a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) through the Health Connector. That’s a very good start and brings us closer to our goal of seeing everyone in Massachusetts who needs insurance use the new system to access it,” said Maydad Cohen, Special Assistant to Governor Patrick. “We are going to spend the next week making sure that those who are in these QHP plans know the best way to access their coverage starting tomorrow, even [...]

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014|

Statement of Maydad Cohen on Massachusetts Deadline to Pay for January 1, 2015 Health Insurance Coverage

BOSTON – Tuesday, December 23, 2014 – Maydad Cohen released the following statement on the Massachusetts deadline to pay for January 1, 2015 health insurance coverage: “Given the heavy interest in signing up for Jan. 1, 2015 coverage, we will accept online and paper payments through Sunday, Dec. 28. We need to be very clear, however, that consumers must select and check out a plan by midnight tonight, Dec. 23. The plan selection deadline for Jan. 1 health insurance is immovable. However, if consumers complete that critical step, they can go online to pay, or ensure we receive a check, by midnight Dec. 28 and still be guaranteed Jan. 1 coverage. Providing a little extra time to make payments should help consumers and ensure we continue to successfully expand access to quality, affordable insurance to people who need it at the start of 2015. In addition to its normal Saturday hours of operation, the Health Connector’s call center will be open this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to assist consumers who decide to take advantage of the new payment window. Due to the time it takes to process payments, people who mail a check between now and the receipt deadline of Dec. 28 may receive their health plan’s ID cards a few days after Jan. 1. However, their coverage will be in place for the start of the month.” ### Contact: Kim Haberlin – 617-470-9686 Jason Lefferts – 617-869-4894 Claire Cooper – 617-921-6870

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014|