Massachusetts: Health Connector celebrates 18th Anniversary of healthcare reform (that's not a typo)

This is actually from a couple of weeks ago (I'm playing catchup from my trip to Houston): via the Massachusetts Health Connector:

The Massachusetts Health Connector is celebrating today’s 18th anniversary of health care reform in Massachusetts, highlighting all-time high enrollment in health and dental plans, and providing health insurance to more than 1.1 million Massachusetts residents since 2015.

Today, 350,000 Massachusetts residents get their health or dental coverage (or both) through the Health Connector, the most in the Marketplace’s history. This includes more than 250,000 in ConnectorCare coverage, the Health Connector’s landmark subsidized health insurance program.

This last data point--250,000 enrolled in ConnectorCare--is impressive but a bit confusing. The MA Connector said that 156,000 Bay Staters were enrolled in ConnectorCare plans at the beginning of the 2024 Open Enrollment Period and added 43,000 to it via the program being expanded up the income level to 500% FPL. This should mean around 199,000 people enrolled in ConnectorCare plans, not 250,000.

However, the "health or dental (or both)" caveat muddies the it really possible that the combined total is 51,000 higher? Or was I just misunderstanding the earlier data?

In any event, "18th anniversary" is a reminder that it was actually Massachusetts which led the way on comprehensive healthcare reform three years before President Obama took office:

“Massachusetts’s historic health care reform law was signed into law on April 12, 2006, and not only created new opportunities for Massachusetts residents to access affordable health coverage, it also served as the model for national reform and the Affordable Care Act,” said Audrey Morse Gasteier, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “Over just the last decade, more than 1 million Massachusetts residents have relied the Health Connector at some point for the coverage they needed, and today more than 21 million people are in ACA plans due to what Massachusetts proved was possible nearly two decades ago.”

Massachusetts’s health care reform law, known as Chapter 58, created the Health Connector and the concept of an insurance marketplace that could connect easily residents of all incomes to comprehensive health coverage if they did not have access to coverage through a job or another program, like Medicaid or Medicare. The Health Connector also created a model for delivering subsidized coverage to state residents who qualify. Originally known as Commonwealth Care, the subsidized program was opened to residents in 2007, and was restructured as ConnectorCare in 2014 to leverage new Affordable Care Act subsidies.

“I’m incredibly proud of the impact that the 2006 health care reform law has had on residents of the Commonwealth, as over 1 million people in Massachusetts now have access to affordable health care because of that legislation,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “It was an honor to serve as a negotiator during that process, and I’m proud of the fact that aspects of that legislation went on to serve as a national model for the Affordable Care Act. I want to thank the folks at the Massachusetts Health Connector for continuing to work towards ensuring that every Massachusetts resident has access to affordable health coverage and quality care.”

“The dream that drove health care reform was to make it possible for every person to have affordable and comprehensive coverage regardless of their income or employment status,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Today, with more than a million people covered in all parts of Massachusetts, we should be prouder than ever that we are delivering on that dream and continuing to make progress every year.”

Today, 350,000 people have health or dental insurance through the Health Connector. This includes 307,000 people in non-group health coverage, 29,000 who get only dental coverage through the Health Connector, and 13,000 people who are in small-group plans through Health Connector for Business.

A nice reminder that the ACA's "SHOP" program (the subsidized small group market plan division) is still around, even though only a handful of states have anyone participating in them at all.

The traditional fall Open Enrollment period is when anyone can access coverage through the Marketplace, but special enrollment opportunities are available year-round for a wide range of reasons, including recently losing other coverage, newly moving to Massachusetts, or being eligible for ConnectorCare. Residents who need coverage can go to to see if they qualify for a plan and help paying for coverage.