Press Release

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

Massachusetts Health Connector Launches First Phase Of New Small-Business Online Portal

BOSTON – August 15, 2017 – The Massachusetts Health Connector today launched the first phase of its new small-group website, creating a system that will make it easier for employers and brokers to manage information and plans, and for employees to select coverage. Health Connector for Business will deliver new tools and benefits to brokers, employers and employees, making it easier to manage a company’s health insurance offering and delivering new options to businesses and employees. “We are pleased with the successful launch of the first phase of the Health Connector for Business website, and look forward to adding additional choices between carriers this November,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “We are excited by the benefits and opportunity the new platform will deliver to our current participating companies, and those that come on board next year.” The new platform was developed through a unique partnership with the Washington, D.C., Health Benefit Exchange Authority, the health insurance Exchange in Washington, D.C. Through this partnership, the Health Connector uses a separate branch of the DC Health Link’s existing online platform to improve offering to small businesses and their employees, while reducing long-term operational costs for the small-group online system. The first phase launched today includes access to plans from three carriers, Boston Medical Center Health Plan, Fallon Community Health Plan and Health New England. Businesses renewing coverage this fall will transfer to the new system, and new groups can use the system to select plans from [...]

Massachusetts Health Connector and DC Health Link Create a First-in-the-Nation Partnership

The Health Connector Board of Directors today approved a first-in-the-nation collaboration with DCHBX, which manages and operates DC Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace in the District of Columbia. Through this partnership, starting this fall the Health Connector will use a separate branch of DC Health Link’s existing online platform to improve available offerings to small businesses and their employees – including the ability for employees to potentially select their own plan from a range of choices – while reducing long-term operational costs for the small-group online system.

As Health Connector Deadline for January Plans Looms, Members and New Applicants Take Steps for Enrollment

Nearly 28,000 members have switched plans for 2017, more than 24,000 new applicants have picked a plan or enrolled for the New Year BOSTON – December 14, 2016 – With the Dec. 23 deadline approaching for plans starting Jan. 1, 2017, more than 28,000 current Massachusetts Health Connector members have picked a new plan and more than 24,000 new applicants have lined up coverage for the New Year. Open Enrollment started Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 31, but the Dec. 23 deadline is the most important of the year. For people – both current members and new applicants – who want new coverage for the New Year, the deadline to pick a plan and pay for it is nine days away. The federal deadline is Dec. 15, but Massachusetts residents have additional time under state rules to complete their enrollment. “We are pleased to see so many people, take the time to ‘stop, shop, enroll’ early in Open Enrollment and get into the best plan for their needs for 2017,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “The deadline is Dec. 23 to get coverage for the New Year, which is important for both members who want a different plan next year, and for those who do not have insurance right now.” Before and throughout Open Enrollment, current members have been encouraged to shop for new 2017 plans, particularly those who would otherwise experience a large increase in premium. Members have been active during Open [...]