For Immediate Release:
April 25, 2023
Health Care For All Praises House of Representatives Budget for Bold Steps Towards Health Care Affordability and Equity
BOSTON – The House of Representatives took a critical step to help maintain coverage and make health care more affordable, accessible and equitable for individuals and families across Massachusetts. The proposed pilot to expand the state’s successful ConnectorCare program included in the House budget proposal would lower copays, deductibles and premiums that continue to squeeze Massachusetts families and put care out of reach for too many.
The proposal is especially timely as 2 million individuals go through the MassHealth redetermination process and thousands of state residents who no longer qualify for MassHealth become newly eligible for ConnectorCare.
At a time of rising costs across the board, out-of-pocket health care costs force too many people to avoid needed care and treatment including doctor’s visits and prescription medications. We commend the House, with special thanks to Speaker Mariano, Ways & Means Chair Michlewitz, and Representative Lawn, for putting forward a thoughtful plan to provide direct relief to people across the state and help them afford the care they need.
Explanation of proposal:
The Massachusetts House of Representatives included a proposal in the FY24 House Budget for a two-year pilot program that would expand eligibility for the state’s subsidized health insurance program, ConnectorCare. Individuals and families up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $73,000 a year for an individual) would become eligible for insurance with reduced premiums and minimal cost sharing under the pilot. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents would be newly eligible for more affordable coverage under the proposal. The pilot program would be fully funded by leveraging state savings from enhanced federal subsidies passed by Congress that are accruing to the state’s Commonwealth Care Trust Fund, which was established to support affordable care.
In addition to helping ease transitions during the MassHealth redetermination process, the proposal is also a response to growing challenges Massachusetts residents face in affording care. More than 40 percent of residents report challenges affording care, with Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents more likely to report challenges accessing care due to cost, making it fundamentally an issue of health equity.