For Immediate Release:
July 13, 2023
Healey-Driscoll Administration highlights efforts to maintain coverage for Worcester-area residents through MassHealth redetermination process
WORCESTER – Today, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll joined MassHealth Assistant Secretary Mike Levine, Health Connector Executive Director Audrey Morse Gasteier, Health Care For All (HCFA) Executive Director Amy Rosenthal and others to discuss the MassHealth redeterminations process and ongoing efforts in Worcester to ensure MassHealth members know what they can do to stay covered. After, the Lt. Governor joined canvassers to knock on doors in the neighborhood to share materials and resources geared to assist individuals and families in maintaining their coverage.
From March 2020 – March 2023, MassHealth suspended eligibility redeterminations and maintained members’ health care coverage throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in compliance with the federal Maintenance of Effort provision of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Starting on April 1, 2023, or the following 12 months, MassHealth is redetermining its full caseload of 2.4 million members – with more than 223,000 of those members residing in Worcester County. Members should check for mail from MassHealth and respond in order to get the best coverage for them and their family.
“This Medicaid redeterminations period is the largest coverage event since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and Massachusetts is committed to maintaining a high coverage rate and helping residents get the best possible benefit they qualify for,” said Lt. Governor Driscoll. “The partnership between MassHealth, the Health Connector, Health Care For All and all of their community partners prioritizes sharing resources they need to successfully complete a process that can be daunting for many of our residents. I am grateful for all of those who have been working with us to meet residents where they are and ensure they stay covered.”
“MassHealth has been working tirelessly since redeterminations were suspended three years ago to make sure we handle this process as humanely, effectively, and efficiently as possible. As prepared as we are, we recognize that this poses an additional challenge for individuals and families who rely on us for health care coverage,” said Secretary Kate Walsh. “We are grateful to the community organizations that have partnered with us to help contact those who may be difficult to reach, and to the organizations that are helping us prevent a gap in coverage for Massachusetts residents.”
Additionally, MassHealth celebrated the opening of a new MassHealth Enrollment Center (MEC) in Worcester that will be available for all members in Central Massachusetts. The new MEC, located near the Registry of Motor Vehicles in the Southwest Commons, will serve as a location where members and applicants can get assistance completing applications and renewals as well as getting help with any additional steps or paperwork needed to complete the renewal process.
“We are committed to providing MassHealth members with the information and resources they need to stay covered during and after the redetermination process,” said Mike Levine. “MassHealth has been
working in close partnership with health plans, providers, and community-based organizations to ensure that eligible members avoid gaps in coverage.”
Massachusetts is committed to reducing unnecessary loss of health care coverage and ensuring that all members receive the appropriate coverage during the redeterminations process. MassHealth and the Massachusetts Health Connector have an integrated eligibility process that ensures that information about members who are no longer eligible for MassHealth will automatically be sent to the Health Connector for outreach, where they may be eligible for subsidized coverage.
To support people in their redetermination process and to help them enroll in Health Connector coverage as necessary, the Health Connector is hosting an enrollment event at Polar Park in Worcester on Sunday, July 23, from noon-4 p.m. At the event, visitors can sit down with trained, experienced health insurance Navigators and other assisters, to update their account and enroll in a new plan if necessary. The day will also include food, music, giveaways and other entertainment.
“Massachusetts has a long history of leading the way on health care access and affordability, and through this collective effort over the next year we will make sure everyone who needs health insurance has it,” said Audrey Morse Gasteier. “The Health Connector’s role is to make sure everyone in the Commonwealth who needs coverage can get covered in an affordable, high-quality plan. People losing MassHealth coverage can preserve their peace of mind by securing new health coverage through the Health Connector and tapping into state and federal subsidies to lower their costs.”
“Health Care For All is delighted to be partnering with MassHealth, the Health Connector, and local community organizations to conduct a multicultural, multilingual campaign aimed at educating people about the steps they need to take to stay covered,” said HCFA Executive Director Amy Rosenthal. “This all-hands-on-deck effort to keep our communities covered is only possible with the collaboration of community-based organizations like Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Mass, Elder Services of Worcester, Authentic Caribbean Foundation, Tri-Valley, Inc., and Community Health Awareness Network (CHAN), who are working tirelessly to help MassHealth members in Worcester maintain their health coverage.”
Although the renewals process for members began on April 1, MassHealth has undertaken extensive preparations in advance. This includes increasing staffing levels by about 500 people to support MassHealth Customer Service Center capacity, application processing, and hearings; over $11M in outreach grants; and the development of multilingual targeted communications materials and webinars, and on-the-ground resources such as the MassHealth Renewal Help Guide, which includes step-by-step renewal instructions and commonly asked questions.
This outreach includes door-to-door canvassing in the 15 communities with the highest number of MassHealth members to share materials and resources, sub-grants to community-based organizations to conduct community outreach and train staff to provide enrollment assistance, and a multilingual media buy. Canvassers have already knocked on over 300,000 doors through June.