Massachusetts: Health Connector reports nearly 45,000 either newly enroll, update coverage or switch to Medicaid during #COVID19 SEP period

Oof! I saw this several weeks ago but somehow forgot to actually post about it until now; it's important to note that the May 25th deadline referred to below was just extended until June 23rd:

Massachusetts Health Connector continues extended enrollment as nearly 45,000 people enroll in new plans, update current coverage

April 28, 2020 – The Massachusetts Health Connector continues to help people who need health insurance after losing coverage or income due to the coronavirus, with a May 23 deadline ahead for June 1 coverage.

In order to help residents who lose their employer-sponsored coverage during the economic crisis created by the coronavirus, the Health Connector has created an extended enrollment period through May 25, June 23rd so that anyone who needs health insurance can come to the exchange and get into coverage. Additionally, current Health Connector members are encouraged to update their income information if they lost their jobs or working hours have changed, to ensure they are in the plan that provides appropriate financial help paying for their coverage.

Since the start of March, nearly 45,000 people have enrolled in a new coverage or updated their coverage. More than 12,000 people have reported a change in income and have moved to a new Health Connector plan type. An additional 11,600 Health Connector members have updated their information and are now in MassHealth coverage. Since the start of March, more than 20,000 new enrollments have come to the Health Connector for April or May coverage.

The final 20,000 enrollees are the only ones directly related to the #COVID19 SEP itself, since a significant change of income or eligibility for Medicaid (MassHealth) is allowed at any time. Still, 20,000 people is 20,000 people. The figure also isn't quite as significant for Massachusetts since anyone earning between 138 - 300% FPL is eligible for ConnectorCare plans, which can be enrolled in year-round no matter what, so it's difficult to parse out how many of them were only eligible to enroll thanks to the COVID SEP.

“The economic impact of the coronavirus has extended to thousands of Massachusetts residents, and we all want to minimize the harm it has done to health coverage for people who have lost their job or lost hours at work,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “Massachusetts has worked over the years to create a health coverage structure to reach all of our residents, and the Health Connector remains at the ready to support current members and those newly seeking health insurance.”

Typically, the only time of year everyone can newly access coverage is during Open Enrollment, which runs from November through January. However, because of the public health threat created by the coronavirus and the increased public interest in prevention and treatment, the Health Connector is opening enrollment for uninsured residents through May 25. June 23rd

Residents who need health insurance can call (877) MA-ENROLL ((877) 623-6765) to gain access to the enrollment period, and go to MAhealthconnector.org to complete an application. From the website, people who qualify for Health Connector coverage may be in the ConnectorCare program, which offers subsidized plans with low premiums and co-pays, and no deductibles for all services. Those who do not qualify for ConnectorCare can pick plans from

nine carriers, with as many as 50 plans available. Applicants can also seek out assistance from local Navigator organizations for Certified Application Counselors.