A Healthy Blog

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

MA Health Reform

Hope Yet for Health Safety Net

Yesterday, the legislature began a process to extend a temporary reprieve to low-income residents concerned about planned cuts to their access to health care. Last month, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) proposed changes to regulations governing the Health Safety Net (HSN) program. The HSN provides payments to hospitals and community health centers (CHCs) for providing care to low-income uninsured and underinsured Massachusetts residents. The program is primarily funded by an assessment on hospitals and insurers. Read more »

Sobering Report Points To Challenges in Access and Affordability

This. The headline above topped the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation's annoucement of the latest results from the Massachusetts Health Reform Survey. The sobering report has some good news - overall, coverage is still very strong in Massachusetts, with 95.7 percent of nonelderly adults reporting having insurance. But the report is newsworthy for the challenges it lays bare. Just having an insurance card is not nearly enough. Read more »

Connector Recaps Open Enrollment, Approves Affordability Schedule, and Plans for Seal of Approval

Last Thursday, the Health Connector Board convened to discuss a variety of topics, including a recap of the Open Enrollment period, the 2017 Affordability Schedule, the Risk Adjustment Data Validation (RADV) contract and plans for the 2017 Seal of Approval. Materials from the meeting are here. Read more »

Connector Board Reviews 2016 Open Enrollment, Looks Towards Waiver Application

Last week, the Connector Board met to share progress during open enrollment, discuss proposed policies for a federal State Innovation waiver, and voted on a restructured contract with customer service and billing vendor Dell. Materials from the meeting can be found here. In addition, the Board bid a fond farewell to Dolores Mitchell, who is retiring after nearly 30 years leading the Group Insurance Commission (GIC), the agency that provides health and other benefits to state and certain municipal employees. Dolores has served on the Connector Board since its inception, and for much of the... Read more »

Smoother Sailing for 2016 Open Enrollment

Yesterday, the Health Connector Board met to discuss two topics: 2016 open enrollment and transitioning to the federal risk adjustment program. Materials from the meeting are posted here: https://www.mahealthconnector.org/about/leadership/board-meetings. 2016 Open Enrollment Update Read more »

Thank You, Chip!

Health Care For All’s long-time friend, former Board President and board member, Chip Joffe-Halpern, is retiring as Executive Director from Ecu-HealthCare in North Adams this week. Chip has led Ecu-HealthCare for 20 years, during which time he and his team have been responsible for helping countless North Berkshire County residents get and stay covered. Chip also played a vital role in implementation of Massachusetts’ 2006 health reform law, serving as the consumer representative on the Health Connector Board from 2006-2007. Chip and Ecu-HealthCare exemplify the importance of community-based... Read more »

Health Connector Prepares for 2016 Open Enrollment

Today, the Health Connector met to: approve readiness and outreach plans for this fall's Open Enrollment; and approve the decommissioning of Dell 2.0 Financial Management System. Materials from the meeting are posted on the Connector's board meetings page. Our full report takes just a click. Read more »

Connector Meets to Look at Customer Service, Plan Choices, & Provider Look-Up

On Thursday, the Connector Board met to discuss: customer service improvements; Conditional Award of 2016 Seal of Approval; implementing a provider search tool; and the agency’s Fiscal Year 2015 and 2016 administrative budgets. Materials from the meeting are posted here. Our full report takes a click below. Read more »

Still More To Do: Blue Cross Foundation Report Shows Public Coverage In Mass Not As Good As Private [Updated]

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation released a report authored by Sharon K. Long and Thomas H. Dimmock of the Urban Institute that analyzes the 2013 Massachusetts Reform Survey by comparing the experience of adults with employer-sponsored insurance coverage (ESI) to adults with public coverage, mostly MassHealth, but some with Connector-sponsored coverage. Read more »

Supreme Court: The Spirit of Massachusetts *IS* the Spirit of America

Two consecutive Supreme Court decisions take an idea that was first implemented in Massachusetts and make it national law. So it's official: The Spirit of Massachusetts is the Spirit of America: (Context:)     (Context 2:)   Read more »

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