A Healthy Blog

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

MA Health Reform

Rep. Sánchez On Progress and Challenges in MassHealth Delivery Reform Efforts

Writing in the blog of the leading national health policy journal Health Affairs, state Health Care Financing Committee co-chair Representative Jeffrey Sánchez provides a balanced summary of MassHealth's efforts to push delivery reform forward. The post, titled Tackling Medicaid In Massachusetts, looks at both the progress we have made, and the serious challenges we have encountered. After mentioning the success we have had at meeting the cost growth benchmark for 2013, Sánchez frames the issue with the context of the critical role MassHealth plays in the state's health care system: Read more »

Connector Reports on Progress, and Challenges (6/11/15 Board Meeting Report)

Yesterday, the Connector Board met to: Discuss the Connector’s progress in improving customer service, operations, and IT systems; Approve Administration & Finance subcommittee members; Discuss planning underway for the next open enrollment period; Approve contracts with vendors for operations and media/messaging work; Share updates on the 2015-2016 Student Health Insurance Plan procurement; and Approve final repeal of Commonwealth Care regulations. Materials from the meeting are posted here https://www.mahealthconnector.org/about/leadership/board-meetings. For the first time in a long... Read more »

Another Good News / Bad News Report: CHIA's 2014 Health Insurance Survey Released

CHIA, the state’s Center For Health Information and Analysis, released their Findings from the 2014 Massachusetts Health Insurance Survey today. The package includes a report, and chartpack (with powerpoint), along with detailed data tables and a methodology explainer. Read more »

Report - CHIP Critical To Kids' Health in Massachusetts (and the state budget)

Coverage for 130,000 children and pregnant women. A $166 million hole in the state budget. Those are the stakes for Massachusetts in the upcoming Congressional vote to extend federal funding for the CHIP program. Read more »

HCFA Launches I ♡ MassHealth Campaign

Join the I ♡ MassHealth Campaign! Sharing people’s stories is a compelling way to demonstrate the importance of the MassHealth program and make complex health care policies easier for people to understand and relate to. Today, we are launching the I Heart MassHealth campaign. We are collecting statements and photos that bring to life why MassHealth is a critical program for the health of millions of the Commonwealth’s residents. Here's what you can do to particpate: Read more »

The Tyranny of Plan Choice - Health Connector Board Meeting Report

To kick off yesterday’s Connector Board meeting, EOHHS Secretary and Connector Board Chair Marylou Sudders introduced two new Connector Board members appointed by Governor Baker. Mark Gaunya replaces George Gonser as the broker representative, while Rina Vertes replaces John Bertko as the actuary representative. Sudders said that the two additional open board positions – the economist and small business representative – will be announced in April. Louis Gutierrez, the new Executive Director for the Health Connector, shared non-group health and dental plan enrollment numbers. As of March 1st,... Read more »

House Announces Committee Assignments

Today the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved its committee chairs and members for the new legislative session. That big boom you just heard was the starting gun for the legislative process. Among the new chairs is Boston Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, who will co-lead the Health Care Financing Committee. This committee considers all bills concerning MassHealth, the Health Connector, other program such as the Health Safety Net, and delivery system reforms. It also takes a second look at many health care-related bills first approved by other committees. It has been called the "... Read more »

#WOOHOO! [Update: It's over 515,000, on penultimate day]

UPDATE - here's the numbers as of the day before the scheduled end of open enrollment:     Read more »

Just In: Connector Extends Enrollment Deadline to 2/23

Open enrollment was scheduled to end on Sunday, Feb. 15. But see this, just in from the Health Connector: IMPACTS OF SERIES OF SEVERE SNOWSTORMS PUSHES DEADLINE FOR HEALTH INSURANCE APPLICATIONS TO FEB. 23 BOSTON – February 13, 2015 – The Massachusetts Health Connector and MassHealth announced today they are extending the deadline to complete an application and pick a plan to Feb. 23, acknowledging the toll a series of snowstorms in Massachusetts – including another one forecast for this weekend – has taken on operations and the ability for people to sign up for insurance. Read more »

Connector Looks Ahead, and Gets New Head

The Health Connector Board met today.  With open enrollment for Connector plans (but not MassHealth) ending in on Sunday, there was lots of talk about accomplishments and challenges.  An affordability schedule (that also sets parameters for subsidized premiums) was preliminarily approved, continuing our long-standing approach to what is considered affordable. It was the first Connector board meeting for their new Executive Director, and, oh, and there's a new Chair of the Connector Board, as the Baker administration creatively used some flexibility in the statute to reshuffle the leadership... Read more »

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