Lawmakers on Beacon Hill and advocates across the state are pushing to expand a taxpayer-subsidized health care plan. If approved, the budget provision would mark the largest health care expansion in Massachusetts since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2009.
Under the spending plan that legislators sent to Gov. Charlie Baker this week, a two-year pilot program would extend ConnectorCare coverage to tens of thousands of residents and families who earn up to 500% of the federal poverty level. ConnectorCare is currently available only to residents earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level, which amounts to $40,770 for an individual or $83,250 for a family of four.
“An estimated 37,000 people would be expected to be newly eligible,” said Alex Sheff, director of policy and government at the advocacy group Health Care For All Massachusetts.
Despite the high rate of insurance coverage in Massachusetts, Sheff cited data showing that a quarter of residents have unmet health care needs due to cost, and about half of residents have reported challenges affording care.
“There are also stark disparities with Black and Hispanic residents far more likely to face challenges affording care than their white counterparts,” he said.
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