Massachusetts adds COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period thru 5/25 (updated)
Massachusetts Health Connector offers extended enrollment for uninsured individuals to ease coronavirus fears
BOSTON – March 11, 2020 – To ensure everyone who wants access to covered coronavirus services has it, the Massachusetts Health Connector announced today that uninsured residents can apply and get into coverage through a 45-day window running until April 25.
On March 6, the Division of Insurance announced that Massachusetts health insurers are now required to cover the cost of testing and treatment for members who may be affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), including not charging co-pays or deductibles for those services. The Health Connector’s decision to open enrollment to anyone without coverage ensures Massachusetts residents concerned about contracting coronavirus can access necessary services without cost barriers.
Additionally, the Health Connector will be delivering to current members information about the Division of Insurance guidance, reassuring members that coronavirus-related services are available at no cost.
“The coronavirus represents a significant and growing public health threat, and the Massachusetts Health Connector is committed to making sure residents have access to testing, treatment and other related services as necessary,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “With 97 percent of residents covered, almost everyone in Massachusetts understands the ongoing value and need for coverage, but if anyone is considering signing up now, we encourage them to do.”
Typically, the only time of year anyone 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 April 25. For people wanting coverage starting April 1, the deadline to apply, pick a plan and pay the first month’s premium is March 23.
Residents who need health insurance can call 1-877-MA-ENROLL (1-877-623-6765) 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 or Certified Application Counselors.
UPDATE 4/01/20: The MA Health Connector has extended the COVID-19 SEP out by another month:
Administrative Information Bulletin 03-20
Amendment to Administrative Bulletin 02-20 Guidance Regarding Special Enrollment Periods Due to the Emergence of the Novel Coronavirus SARS-Cov-2, Which Causes the Disease COVID-19
March 30, 2020
The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority (the “Health Connector”) issued Bulletin 02-2020 on March 11, 2020 to designate the emergence of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19, as a temporary triggering event in accordance with its authority pursuant to federal regulations at 45 C.F.R. § 155.420(d). The effect of this triggering event was a special enrollment period of 45 days ending on April 25, 2020. The length of this special enrollment period is no longer commensurate with the prolonged need to maintain adequate access to the resources necessary to receive appropriate testing and treatment for COVID-19. Therefore, the Health Connector is extending this special enrollment period by 30 days and, correspondingly, amending the end date of that special enrollment period to May 25, 2020.
As previously noted in Bulletin 02-20, to access this special enrollment period, individuals must be otherwise eligible for a Health Connector plan and must not already be enrolled in health insurance coverage through the Health Connector.
The Health Connector reserves the right to verify that individuals meet the requirement of being a new enrollee before granting individuals access to this special enrollment period.
This Bulletin takes effect immediately.