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

Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

September 11, 2008

Every week we highlight the voices of real people that contact our Helpline every day. Once a week you will be introduced to a family whose life has changed for the better due to health reform. If you or anyone you know needs assistance applying for free or low-cost health care coverage, please contact our Helpline online, or call 1-800-272-4232. Here's this week’s story:

Nina’s family recently learned just how important it is for folks to have comprehensive, quality, affordable health insurance coverage. Her family was eating lunch on a Sunday when her oldest child felt severe pain in his lower abdomen. Scared for her son, Nina brought him to Framingham Hospital where he was seen by a doctor who recommended an immediate appendectomy.

Nina can just imagine what would have happened if they didn’t have subsidized health care benefits. She is a divorced mother of three and works as a landscaper with an income of $680 dollars per week. Her income level and family size make her eligible for Commonwealth Care with a monthly premium of $43.70 and her three children are all eligible for MassHealth Family Assistance.

Nina says that she always brings her children for regular visits. The situation with her 16 years old son was a fluke. She points out that her family is fortunate, because after diagnosing her son’s health issue they were able to solve it. Her son had all the care he needed since the moment they got to the hospital, and in a couple of days he was able to go back home. If the family didn’t have health insurance subsidized through the state, the situation may have prevented Nina from taking her son to doctor for fear of incurring severe medical debt.

Nina thought that her son’s illness would be the last emergency trip the family would have for a long time. She couldn’t imagine herself ever being sick. However, in a routine visit the doctor, Nina was diagnosed with a kidney stone. The stones were removed by a successful laser treatment. All of her treatments were covered by Commonwealth Care.

Nina recently contacted the Helpline for help to fill out MassHealth and Commonwealth Care Eligibility Review Forms. “I’m just so grateful and very happy to be a Massachusetts resident. The State health care benefits are just amazing; if it wasn’t for that I couldn’t ever afford a private family plan. The Helpline’s service is just priceless,” she said. Nina also referred to how much her health care coverage and the Health Care For All HelpLine have helped her family.

*names have been changed

Monika Lira-Malhoit
Helpline Counselor