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 Connector has the lowest average Exchange premiums in the country, and the ConnectorCare program offers state and federal subsidies to make health insurance more affordable for lower-income residents.
Massachusetts’ position as a national leader is supported by the state health care reform law passed in 2006, which included an individual mandate. The mandate requires Massachusetts residents have health insurance that meets state standards, or potentially face a tax penalty. Requiring participation in health insurance by everyone helps balance premiums for the entire market, and the mandate also sets benefit standards to ensure Massachusetts residents have coverage that provides access to the care they need.
Throughout Open Enrollment, the Health Connector will coordinate a #StayCovered social media campaign designed to remind residents about the individual mandate. The Health Connector will be working with stakeholders across the Commonwealth to prominently talk about the mandate, with focused messaging days on Nov. 15 and the Health Connector’s two Days of Coverage on Dec. 18 and Jan. 17.
People without health insurance can go to MAhealthconnector.org starting Nov. 1, complete an application online, and compare their coverage options. Applicants must pay for their new Health Connector plan by Dec. 23 for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2019. People who qualify for ConnectorCare plans will find that have low premiums (or no premiums for some plans), low co-pays and no deductibles.
For those who need help with an application or picking a Health Connector plan for 2019, Navigators and Certified Application Counselors are available to offer assistance. People needing help can go to the Health Connector website and find a local assister.
The Health Connector currently serves more than 260,000 individuals and small-employer members with health insurance. About 80,000 people receive dental insurance through the Exchange. New applicants and renewing members can go to the Health Connector’s website, MAhealthconnector.org, to secure coverage.