A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Late Friday Afternoon Insurance Availability Update

Late Friday Afternoon Insurance Availability Update

April 9, 2010

As of late afternoon Friday, as best we can tell, this is the status of the availability of individual and small group health insurance in Massachusetts. We will update the post as things change or we get new information; please use the comments if you (we know you're out there, industry players) have information to share.

  1. No insurance plan other than CeltiCare is available through the Connector's Commonwealth Choice program. We understand a number of plans might be available early next week.
  2. Some health plans are available though direct contact with the insurer, including Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, CeltiCare, Tufts and United Healthcare. Other plans, including Harvard Pilgrim, Fallon and Neighborhood, are not being offered.
  3. The Division of Insurance had informed plans that they may be subject to fines if they are not made available to the public by the end of the today (Friday). We'll have to see how this plays out.
  4. No decision has been made in the court case brought by insurers seeking an injunction against the DOI's enforcement of rate rules. The judge indicated on Thursday that a decision would be made by the end of the Monday.

From HCFA's point of view, we appreciate greatly the plans that are offering coverage, despite uncertainty over rates. These plans are acting consistently with their public obligations, and we are grateful to them. As to the others, we continue to be dismayed at how innocent consumers are being treated by them as pawns while the pricing issues are being worked out. Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, HCFA Executive Director, told WBUR that "in Massachusetts we require everyone to have health care coverage, and yet this week there are a whole group of consumers who can’t buy it. Their health care is being held hostage by insurance companies that aren’t selling."