For Immediate Release:
May 31, 2023
MassHealth, Health Connector, Health Care For All detail efforts to maintain coverage for Springfield-area residents through MassHealth redetermination process
SPRINGFIELD – Today, MassHealth Assistant Secretary Mike Levine, Health Connector Executive Director Audrey Morse Gasteier, Health Care For All (HCFA) Director of Communications and Community Engagement Maria Gonzalez Albuixech, and others discussed the MassHealth redeterminations process and detailed ongoing efforts in Springfield and Western Massachusetts to ensure MassHealth members know what they can do to stay covered.
Since March 2020, MassHealth has suspended eligibility redeterminations and maintained members’ health care coverage in compliance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with the federal Maintenance of Effort provision of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Starting on April 1, 2023, for the following 12 months, MassHealth is redetermining its full caseload of 2.3 million members – with more than 223,000 of those members residing in Hampden County. Members who need to respond to MassHealth will receive a blue envelope, requesting information which will be used to determine eligibility for continued coverage.
Additionally, the Health Connector is hosting an enrollment event at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield on Saturday, June 17, from noon to 4 p.m. People who need health insurance, or have questions about their MassHealth coverage, can sit down directly with a trained health insurance assister to receive help, including signing up for a new plan if they need coverage. Along with coverage support, the event includes food, activities, and free entrance into the Hall of Fame for people who meet with an assister.
Massachusetts is committed to assisting current members to reduce 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 Connector for outreach.
“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 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.”
“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 to ensure that members have the tools they need to successfully complete their renewals in a timely manner and avoid gaps in coverage through the redetermination process. We will continue to work closely with health plans and partners in the community to support our members through this process, and we are determined to ensure that Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in health coverage as we embark on the next 12 months of renewals”
“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 thrilled 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 Men of Color Health Awareness (MOCHA), Stavros, Massachusetts Senior Action (MSAC), and the Authentic Caribbean Foundation (ACF), who are working to help MassHealth members in Springfield 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, a $1.25M investment in expanding enrollment assistance capacity, and a $5 million grassroots outreach campaign in partnership with the Health Connector and HCFA.
This outreach includes door-to-door canvassing in 15 communities with the highest number of MassHealth members to share materials and resources; sub-grants to community-based organizations to aid in hiring, and a media buy in nine different languages.
MassHealth is coordinating additional outreach in partnership with providers, advocates, health plans, and other stakeholders, focusing on those who might be overlooked by traditional methods and yet most susceptible to losing insurance coverage. These populations include people over the age of 65, people experiencing homelessness, people who are disabled, and people who are immigrants. To support these members, MassHealth has developed 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.