Thursday, November 21, 2019
Press Statement from Health Care For All's Executive Director Amy Rosenthal Regarding Passage of the Child Health and Wellness Bill
"Health Care For All (HCFA) applauds the legislature for passing a bill that seeks to improve access to health care services and supports for the Commonwealth's children. HCFA is encouraged to see the legislature prioritizing children's health, including pediatric behavioral health. HCFA is especially appreciative of the inclusion of important provisions that reflect our own key priorities for children and families: improving the accuracy of health insurance provider directories, ensuring uninterrupted health coverage for former foster youth, and addressing access barriers for medically complex children.
"Out-of-date and inaccurate health insurance provider directories make it difficult for consumers, especially people with behavioral health conditions, to find timely, appropriate care. This legislation will improve the accuracy of provider directories so individuals and families can more easily find information about the providers in their health plan's network that best meet their health, language, and accessibility needs. HCFA and the Children's Mental Health Campaign worked with health insurance carriers, health care providers, and legislators to develop the consensus language reflected in this bill.
"Maintaining access to health coverage is particularly challenging for young adults formerly involved with the Department of Children and Families. The Affordable Care Act requires states to provide Medicaid coverage to former foster youth up to age 26, similar to the provision that allows children to remain enrolled in their parent's health insurance until the same age. We are pleased that the legislature is taking steps to ensure that this population keeps uninterrupted health coverage until their 26th birthday.
"Families raising medically complex children interact with multiple systems that are often uncoordinated and difficult to navigate. This legislation requires the Health Policy Commission, in consultation with other state agencies, to conduct a comprehensive analysis of children with medical complexity to systematically identify gaps in care and inform policy options to address these access barriers
"HCFA thanks Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Spilka and the members of the Conference Committee - Chairs Friedman, Benson, Cyr, and Decker, Senator Tarr and Representative Muratore - for their leadership in moving forward legislation focused on the health care needs of children. We look forward to Governor Baker signing this bill into law.
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Health Care For All (HCFA) advocates for health justice in Massachusetts by working to promote health equity and ensure coverage and access for all. For more information about HCFA, visit our website at www.hcfama.org. You can also call our free HelpLine at (800) 272-4232 if you need help applying for health insurance.