July 13 Health Update
Save the Date: Next Health Care Working Group –July 22, 2020 3-4:30
· Health Connector –Rocky start for its new customer service vendor
· More info on July 1 exemptions to MassHealth drug copays
· MassHealth COVID-19 “Flexibilities” –Are they working as intended?
· New Health Connector Informational Flyer with Information on Health Connector Benefits & Public Charge
· Lawsuit filed in MA Challenging HHS’s Weakening of ACA’s Anti-Discrimination Rules
· Upcoming Health Care For All Training Events in July
Health Connector –Rocky start for its new customer service vendor. The Health Connector project to improve the Customer Experience got off to a rocky start last week when its new vendor Faneuil took over the Health Connector Customer Service Center on July 6. Reports soon started coming in of long call wait times, dropped connections, and customer service representatives unfamiliar with program rules. Remedial measures are underway including hiring back some staff from the prior vendor.
Other news from the July 9 Connector Board meeting was that AllWays Health Partners has formed a new company with a narrower network and proposes to only offer that network as its Connector Care plan in 2021. This would mean disruption in care for ConnectorCare member who now pay a significantly higher premium for the Partners network of providers.
More info on July 1 exemptions to MassHealth drug copays
Starting July 1, 2020, individuals with income under 50% of the poverty level & cash welfare recipients are exempt from copays. For a full list of member and service exclusions, see the MassHealth Copay Information on its member webpage. Please note that copays for acute inpatient hospital stays were eliminated on March 18th, 2020, and no copays apply to COVID-19 testing and treatment services for the duration of the national emergency.
For more information, see MassHealth’s powerpoint presentation on the Health Care Training Forum website: Understanding MassHealth's Cost Sharing Policy Updates
MassHealth COVID-19 “Flexibilities” –Are they working as intended?
MassHealth has implemented a host of new policies that should make it easier for people to obtain MassHealth. See, summaries from MassHealth, MLRI, and MLRI in Collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation. But so far it seems that there has not been much take-up of these new options. It may be that people who could benefit don’t know about their options. We’ve also heard examples of MassHealth Customer Service not knowing about new policies when people ask about them. Please let us know what the experience of you & your patients and clients have been using new policies like income self-attestation for applicants or people reporting a change, premium waivers, deductible waivers, 90 day retroactive coverage and filing appeals or completing other forms by telephone. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com We hope to discuss this at our next Health Care Working Group meeting July 22.
New Health Connector Informational Flyer with Information on Health Connector Benefits & Public Charge This new flyer explains the health insurance through the Health Connector is not considered a public benefit under the public charge test and other information about public charge for Health Connector applicants and members including those receiving ConnectorCare plus Limited or whose children and other family members may be receiving MassHealth.
Lawsuit filed in MA Challenging HHS’s Weakening of ACA’s Anti-Discrimination Rules
On July 9, 2020, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School joined with other civil rights organizations in a lawsuit against HHS in federal court for the District of Massachusetts. The lawsuit challenges HHS’s new and unlawful interpretation of Section 1557, the ACA’s Anti-Discrimination, that will harm LGBTQ+ patients; people seeking reproductive health care, including abortions; patients with limited-English proficiency, especially immigrants; and people with chronic illnesses, including those living with HIV.
Upcoming Health Care For All Training Events in July:
The Health Justice Academy: Building Health Care Power in Our Communities.
Immigrant health care rights and impact of the public charge rule, and tools to protect access to coverage and care for immigrant populations in Massachusetts.
Thursday, July 16th, 3:00PM-4:30PM
Access to health services during the pandemic and its aftermath, and tools to protect access to oral health, prescription drugs and behavioral health services for Massachusetts consumers.
Thursday, July 23rd, 3:00PM-4:30PM
How to navigate medical debt, legal resources available for consumers, and tools to protect Massachusetts patients from surprise billing.
Thursday, July 30th, 3:00PM-4:30PM