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 exchange. They will find great value plans – and for current members the possibility of reducing their premium costs next year.”
The Health Connector’s Hidden Gems tour included stops at more than 15 locations around the state, highlighting interesting local standout places the entire state should know about. While at the location, the Health Connector talked about hidden gems that can be found through the state health insurance Exchange, including quality plans that can fit a family’s needs – particularly in ConnectorCare, which offers low premiums and co-pays, and no deductibles, to those who qualify. The time to access those benefits for anyone without coverage is during Open Enrollment.
“The Hidden Gems tour is a fantastic way to promote the start of Open Enrollment for the Massachusetts Health Connector,” said Sen. James Welch (D-West Springfield), Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Financing. “The Health Connector plays a vital role in ensuring access to affordable health insurance and to all the benefits of regular, preventative health care. I hope today’s tour encourages residents to explore the many plans available through the Connector.”
“While there is a lot of discussion about health insurance among policymakers, the people who depend on it in our neighborhoods may not know how to sign up or shop for new plans,” said Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez (D-Jamaica Plain), House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Financing. “Events like this ensure we’re doing everything we can to reach out to our communities and put a face to the millions of people who need coverage.”
Open Enrollment runs Nov. 1–Jan. 31, 2017. For those who want coverage starting Jan. 1, they need to apply, pick a plan, and make a payment by Dec. 23. The best way to fill out an application is to go to MAhealthconnector.org, which has details on documentation and information needed to complete an application, and an online system that lets an applicant know immediately what program for which they qualify, along with any subsidies. The website includes a provider search and plan comparison tools, which gives applicants and members the ability to find doctors in a particular plan, and see what plan best meets their needs.
For those who need help filling out an application, help is available through a network of walk-in centers, Navigators and Certified Application Councilors across the state. The Health Connector runs a walk-in center in downtown Boston at 133 Portland St., and the Boston Public Health Commission is a Navigator agency with trained staff available. Members and applicants can find an assister in their neighborhood through the Health Connector website.
Here is a list of the locations visited during the Hidden Gems tour:
|Town||“Hidden Gem” Location|
|Everett||Carol’s Café, 388 Main St.|
|Fall River||Europa Pastries and Coffee Shop, 61 Columbia St.|
|Fall River||Health Connector Open Enrollment Walk-in Center, 387 Quarry St.|
|Framingham||Amazing Things, 160 Hollis St.|
|Gloucester||The Open Door Food Pantry, 28 Rear Emerson Ave.|
|Hyannis||The Daily Paper café, 644 W. Main St.|
|Jamaica Plain||Tres Gatos, 470 Centre St.|
|Lowell||The Owl Diner, 244 Appleton St.|
|Lowell||Health Connector Open Enrollment Walk-in Center, 161 Jackson St.|
|New Bedford||Tia Maria’s, 42 N. Water St.|
|North Adams||Greylock Works, 508 State Road|
|Quincy||The Adams Crypt, United First Parish Church, 1306 Hancock St.|
|Revere||The Bagel Bin, 207 Shirley Ave|
|Springfield||Health Connector walk-in center, 88 Industry Ave.|
|Springfield||Court Plaza, 36 Court St.|
|Worcester||Crompton Collective, 138 Green St.|
|Worcester||Health Connector Walk-in Center, 146 Main St.|
About the Massachusetts Health Connector:
The Massachusetts Health Connector is the Commonwealth’s state-based Marketplace, the only place qualifying residents can find financial help accessing health insurance. There are approximately 235,000 people in health coverage through the Health Connector. Residents can learn more about the Health Connector and accessing coverage at MAhealthconnector.org.