Health Insurance

For help with health insurance enrollment, call Health Care For All’s free and multilingual Health Coverage HelpLine at 1-800-272-4232 or visit the Health Coverage HelpLine website. The HelpLine provides assistance in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

MassHealth is the state’s Medicaid program and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and provides comprehensive health coverage for low-income people and eligible seniors and people with disabilities. Most people have no premiums and no copays. Due to COVID-19, you can now apply for insurance at any time. Enrollment information is available online or by calling MassHealth’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-841-2900 (TTY: 1-800-497-4648).

Effective immediately, MassHealth will protect coverage for all individuals who have Medicaid coverage as of March 18, 2020 and for all individuals approved for coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak national emergency and for one month after the emergency period ends. Coverage will only end if an individual requests termination of eligibility or if they are no longer a resident of the state. Members will not lose coverage or have a decrease in benefits for any other reason.

For individuals who have received notices that their coverage is ending after March 18, 2020, no change in coverage will occur. You do not have to send in any paperwork to keep your coverage, and steps will be taken to ensure your coverage does not terminate.

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Health Connector
The Health Connector is the state’s marketplace for reduced-cost coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It is also the easiest place to shop for and enroll in regular individual and family insurance plans.

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, an extended enrollment period is available through May 25, 2020 for qualified Massachusetts residents who are uninsured.

If you need health insurance or have experienced a job change and no longer have health insurance through work, apply through the Massachusetts Health Connector.

If you already have health insurance coverage through the Health Connector, make sure to return to your application to update all changes in circumstances to ensure that you are receiving the most appropriate benefits. Even if you have not received financial assistance in the past, you may be newly eligible for subsidies that could lower your monthly health insurance premium.

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Group Insurance Commission (GIC)
The GIC provides and administers health insurance and other benefits to the Commonwealth’s employees and retirees, their dependents and survivors. The GIC also covers housing and redevelopment authority personnel, participating municipalities, as well as retired municipal employees and teachers in certain governmental units.

GIC’s annual enrollment begins Monday, April 6, 2020. Because of COVID-19, GIC has extended the deadline to Monday, June 1, 2020 to provide more time for members to review options and get questions answered by GIC Coordinators.

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Private Health Insurance Carriers
If you access health insurance through a private insurance carrier, like Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim, and Tufts, we encourage you to visit your insurance carrier’s website to understand specific COVID-19 related decisions they are making. All of the major Massachusetts insurers, including Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim, and Tufts, are not charging any copays or deductible costs for both testing and treatment connected with COVID-19.

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The Department of Public Health has issued guidance that requires all commercial insurers, self-insured plans, and the Group Insurance Commission to cover medically necessary telehealth services, whether related to COVID-19 or not, in the same manner they cover in-person services. For COVID-19 treatment, insurers must do this without requiring cost-sharing of any kind, such as copays and coinsurance.

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Massachusetts Hospital & Nursing Home Changes and Division of Insurance (DOI) Bulletins
The state has taken numerous actions through administrative guidance like bulletins or Executive Orders to modify hospital and nursing home operations or to place new requirements on insurance carriers. All hospitals have been directed to postpone non-essential elective procedures, and visitation at nursing homes has been restricted. 

The Division of Insurance has issued several bulletins in response to COVID-19, including a bulletin to commercial health insurers and other organizations outlining the Division’s expectations regarding appropriate coverage of testing and treatment for COVID-19. Insurers must cover COVID-19 related treatment and testing without requiring cost-sharing of any kind – such as copays and coinsurance – for testing and treatment. Additionally, insurers cannot require prior authorization for these services. More information is in the links below.

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