NEW BEDFORD – As MassHealth redetermines eligibility for its 2.4 million members throughout Massachusetts, its leadership and partner organizations are working to educate and inform the public about the renewal process and how to stay covered.
On Oct. 10, the Immigrants’ Assistance Center (IAC) hosted a press conference with leaders from MassHealth, Health Connector and Health Care For All to detail efforts that are underway to prevent gaps in health care coverage, as well as the resources available to people in Massachusetts.
“We are very excited to be a partner of this important effort to spread the word in New Bedford, and can’t emphasize enough, if you’re a MassHealth member you need to act now to stay covered,” said Helena da Silva Hughes, IAC’s CEO.
In Massachusetts, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are combined into one program called MassHealth.
During the Covid-19 public health emergency federal law prohibited states from removing people from Medicaid, which provides health insurance for low-income people. But the federal emergency ended this spring and Governor Maura Healy has anticipated that about 300,000 Massachusetts residents could lose their health insurance coverage with the reopening of the annual review of MassHealth eligibility.
“MassHealth is the lifeline for tens of thousands of people in New Bedford, and across Massachusetts, providing essential access to high quality coverage and care,” Hughes stressed.
Health Care For All Executive Director Amy Rosenthal said her organization is the state’s leading consumer health advocacy agency and focuses on promoting health equity and coverage and access for all.
“We’ve been running a multilingual, multicultural public education campaign to ensure that MassHealth members know what steps they need to take to stay covered,” she said. “The campaign is focused in the 15 municipalities with the largest number of MassHealth members, including New Bedford.”
She noted that of the 2.4 million people currently on MassHealth, nearly 1.3 million live in one of these 15 communities.
“Here in New Bedford, 6 in 10 residents, about 66%, get their health coverage through MassHealth,” she said.
To help people successfully navigate the renewal process, Health Care For All is running a campaign in nine languages – English, Spanish, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Arabic. All related materials can be found at www.masshealthrenew.org.
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