Whether you are a current or prospective member, there are many important changes happening this year. This page will be updated frequently, so check back often or sign up for updates. For any questions not covered here, call Customer Service at 1-877-MA-ENROLL (1-877-623-6765).
What you need to know about Open Enrollment
Commonwealth Care and Commonwealth Choice Members: Please note that the Health Connector will contact all current members by mail and by phone that will need to take action during open enrollment. Commonwealth Care coverage will be the same through the end of this year with no changes to the rules or benefits. Starting on October 1, 2013 Commonwealth Care members that will not be transferred to MassHealth will need to take part of the Federal Open Enrollment to make sure you have affordable coverage in place for January 1, 2014. Download a preview copy of a member enrollment packet below, available in several languages, that can assist you.
Health Connector member enrollment packet:
- English (Download PDF)
- Chinese (Download PDF)
- Haitian Creole (Download PDF)
- Khmer (Download PDF)
- Lao (Download PDF)
- Portuguese (Download PDF)
- Russian (Download PDF)
- Spanish (Download PDF)
- Vietnamese (Download PDF)
Download a Paper Application
The Health Connector offers a few different ways to apply for health and dental coverage for Massachusetts residents:
- Apply online for coverage. Visit MAhealthconnector.org to get started.
- Apply by phone by calling Customer Service toll-free at 1-877-623-6765 or TTY: 1-877-623-7773. You can call Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. through March 31, 2014.
- Use a paper application to apply in-person on by postal mail. You may download applications for both unsubsidized and subsidized coverage below:
You must download and complete this form: Health Connector Authorized Representative Designation Form (PDF). Click here to find a Navigator or CAC in your area.
Preparing to apply for coverage effective January 1, 2014
Here is a list of information and documents that you may want to gather before you start your new insurance application.
- Social Security numbers for all people who are applying, or
- An immigration document for all non-U.S. citizens who are applying. You can find more information at MAhealthconnector.org by clicking on “Acceptable Proof” in the yellow help tray on the right.
- A copy of your federal tax return from last year. If you did not file taxes last year, or your income has changed since last year, have information about your current income ready (such as recent pay stubs or an unemployment award letter).
- Home or mailing address for everyone in your household who needs insurance.
- If your employer offers health insurance, ask these questions:
- Do any of the health plans that the employer offers meet the “minimum value” standard A health plan meets this standard if it’s designed to pay at least 60% of the total cost of medical services for a standard population. Starting in 2014, individuals offered employer-sponsored coverage that provides minimum value and that’s affordable won’t be eligible for a premium tax credit. ?
- What is the employee contribution to the lowest-cost health plan offered for an individual?
- How often?
- Every 2 weeks
- Twice a month
Frequently Asked Questions
Will national health reform change my health insurance coverage?
Most Bay Staters will not see changes right away. Massachusetts already has many of the consumer protections that will now be federal law.
For example, Massachusetts law does not allow insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions. We also previously expanded opportunities for parents to keep young adult children on their health plan until the age of 26. (See below.)
Small employers with low-wage employees will see a change in the short term, however. The new law has provided federal tax credits since 2010 to help them pay for insurance coverage, but the amount of the credit will increase next year.
Bigger changes will come in 2014. Each state will have its own insurance Marketplace, modeled after the Massachusetts Health Connector. Not only will shopping for health insurance be easier, new tax credits will help more income-eligible people buy insurance. Furthermore, insurance plans will have richer benefits and added consumer protections.
While the Massachusetts law was the model for national reform, there are some differences that state and federal officials are working hard to align to ensure that the transition into the Affordable Care Act is seamless for Massachusetts residents.
How will my Commonwealth Care coverage change?
Commonwealth Care is subsidized insurance for people who qualify. Commonwealth Care will remain in place for the duration of 2013. In 2014, some current Commonwealth Care members will become Medicaid eligible and some will enroll in a plan through the Health Connector just like Commonwealth Care, with low or no premiums. Members will receive more information in the mail and by phone about changes to their benefits. Beginning Oct. 1 those shopping in the online Marketplace – MAhealthconnector.org – can find out in real-time what type of health insurance they are eligible for.
How will my Commonwealth Choice coverage change?
If you purchased a commercial health insurance plan through the Commonwealth Choice program, your coverage will for the most part continue without change. However, you will have to enroll in new coverage before March 31, 2014, when federal open enrollment ends. In addition, individuals making up to roughly $46,000 per year and a family of four making up to roughly $94,000 per year may be eligible for new federal tax subsidies to help pay for health insurance.
I can’t afford health insurance. How will the national health reform help me?
Massachusetts is strongly committed to helping all individuals obtain affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage. This is achieved through a transparent, apples-to-apples, comparison-based shopping process, the leveraging of market competition, and the state and federal government’s dedication to provide subsidies and tax credits to those who qualify.
in 2014, individuals making up to roughly $46,000 per year and a family of four making up to roughly $94,000 per year may be eligible for new federal tax subsidies to help pay for health insurance. In addition, individuals making up to roughly $34,500 per year or a family of four making up to roughly $70,500 per year may be eligible for even more state and federal subsidies through special health plans offered by the Health Connector called ConnectorCare plans, which will offer premiums, cost-sharing and benefits similar to Commonwealth Care.
National health reform lets young people stay on their parents’ policies up through age 26, expanding on Massachusetts’ prior reforms. In addition, individuals under 30 can enroll in basic plans which offer lower premiums but a narrower scope of services that focuses on the needs of young adults. National health reform also strengthens coverage for young adults by making many student health insurance plans subject to new consumer protections and benefits to ensure access to comprehensive coverage.
What are the penalties for not enrolling in insurance?
In order to align with the federal law, the Health Connector proposed an approach to coordinate the maximum contribution a household would be expected to pay for coverage for both the state and federal mandates. Massachusetts has encouraged employers and insurers to provide robust coverage by defining the minimum creditable coverage levels an individual needs in order to satisfy the mandate. Maintaining these standards is an important piece of ensuring that state residents continue to have great benefits. The Health Connector and other stakeholders are working to target the state’s mandate to promote continued enrollment in coverage that meets the minimum creditable coverage standards that have been in place since 2006.
Starting Jan. 1, 2014, if someone doesn’t have a health plan that qualifies as federal minimum essential coverage (which is different from the state’s minimum creditable coverage), he or she may have to pay a fee that increases every year: from 1 percent of income (or $95 per adult, whichever is higher) in 2014 to 2.5 percent of income (or $695 per adult) in 2016. After 2016, the fee will be increased to account for changes in the cost of living. The fee for children is half the adult amount. The fee is paid through a household’s federal income tax form,. People with very low incomes, short gaps in coverage, financial hardships, and others may be eligible for waivers. The Health Connector recently passed regulations ensuring that those subject to the individual mandate penalty in Massachusetts will not be penalized twice through new federal penalties.