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The latest health law updates for advocates and social service providers in Massachusetts.

For Immediate Release - June 20, 2014

Patrick Administration Announces Steps to Ensure Equity in Health Care Coverage for Gender Dysphoria

BOSTON The Patrick Administration today announced reforms to health care insurance coverage to ensure that Massachusetts residents who need transgender related services have full access to the health care treatments they need. Through MassHealth, the Massachusetts Medicaid program, and the Division of Insurance (DOI), these reforms will further enhance health care access for Massachusetts residents.

A conference committee is currently ironing out differences between the House & Senate budget bills for the state fiscal year beginning July 1.  MMPI, Mass. Budget & MLRI have produced a budget brief comparing the health-related provisions between the two bills. The brief is available at this address: 

Good news --CMS has extended the coverage slated to end on June 30 until Dec 31 2014 --see the announcement from the Connector & MassHealth below. This affects the over 227,000 people now enrolled in temporary MassHealth Standard coverage, the over 90,000 still enrolled in Commonwealth Care, the over 3,000 former Medical Security Program participants still enrolled in Network Health, and the new group of undocumented immigrants finally enrolled into MassHealth Limited starting early this month.

As you know, the new computer eligibility system is still broken & MassHealth continues to refine the "work-arounds" to provide benefits in the meantime. Until recently most non-citizens who do not have an eligible immigration status, applied for benefits after Jan. 1, 2014 & were not pregnant, have not been processed for even the limited safety net benefits for which they are eligible --MassHealth Limited (emergency coverage only) & the Health Safety Net (HSN).

Hospital presumptive eligibility. A May MassHealth provider bulletin describes coverage under a new process called hospital-determined presumptive eligibility.

An important announcement from the Massachusetts Health Care Training Forum on how children receiving (AA) assistance or temporary coverage can receive behavioral health services:

The Health Connector has put out some helpful guidance on the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) and subsidized health insurance.

The Senate rejected both of Senator Chandler's amendments that dealt with the adult dental program as part of a bundled amendment. This leaves the Senate budget favoring a restoration of dentures effective April 2015 at the latest. The House freezes the dental program where it is, without denture restitution.  Conference Committee members will have to work out the differences.
Summary and analysis of Senate Ways and Mean's Committee fy 2015 budget proposal on issues impacting low-income folks in Massachusetts. 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Press Release

Contact: Kim Haberlin – 617-470-9686

Claire Cooper – 617-921-6870

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