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Extended deadlines

 
More time for Comm. Care enrollees to transition to ConnectorCare.
The big news in extended deadlines is that the Connector announced at their Nov 14 board meeting that people enrolled in CommonwealthCare in December who are not automatically switching to MassHealth when Comm. Care ends Dec. 31 will have more time to reapply & enroll in ConnectorCare --the new coverage available under national health reform.  These folks, about 100,000, will now be able to stay on Commonwealth Care until March 31, 2014 to complete the application & enrollment process to transition to ConnectorCare. Whew! This is a welcome reprieve from what looked like an impossible to meet Dec 23 deadline to avoid thousands of eligible people losing coverage Jan. 1. But getting everyone through the door by March 31 will be no easy task. To date only about 18,000 application have been submitted on-line and the new system is still being tested for its capacity to make eligibility decisions.
 
More time to comment on proposed MassHealth & Health Safety Net proposed rules.
Apparently due to a public noticing defect the first time around, the Office of Medicaid is republishing the proposed MassHealth and Health Safety Net regulations making the many changes needed to implement the ACA in 2014 The text of the proposed regulations is the same as those released for public comment by Nov 5.  The extended comment deadline is now Dec. 3 & a second public hearing has been scheduled in Worcester on Dec 2.  See public notice & proposed rules here: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/masshealth-proposed-regulations
 
We have posted 4 comments submitted on Nov 5 by MLRI & GBLS, HLA, MAC & the ACT Coalition. /content/advocates-comments-proposed-masshealth-regulations-implementing-aca-related-changes
 
There are many positive changes in the new regulations, many areas where the regulations are unclear & several key policy issues that we hope the Office of Medicaid will change from the proposal.  We urge you to consider taking advantage of the new deadline to comment on some of these policy issues:
1. Visiting nurses in CarePlus. Do not carry over the old Basic restrictions in  home health services into the new CarePlus program; provide the same scope of home health in CarePlus as in Standard, CommonHealth & Family Assistance.  This issue is discussed in the MLRI/GBLS & ACT comments.
2. The start date of coverage for children. Continue to provide coverage to children who appear to be eligible based on unverified self-attestation starting 10 days prior to the date of application.  This is how presumptive eligibility for children works now. The proposal for "provisional eligibility" for people who appear to be eligible based on unverified self-attestation was explained at the Nov 4 public hearing as only beginning on the date MassHealth makes an initial eligibility decision. This means children who miss the deadline for submitting verification will have no way to fill the gap in coverage if verification is submitted late. This issue is discussed in the MLRI/GBLS & ACT comments.
3.Premium Assistance in the individual market. Provide an option for Premium Assistance to help MassHealth beneficiaries buy insurance through the Connector in order to gain access to necessary services that are not now fully covered in MassHealth, like Applied Behavioral Analysis for people with autism.  The comments by MAC, MLRI/GBLS & the ACT Coalition all discuss this issue. 
4. Identity-Proofing. Provide that applicants who apply in-person with assistance from a Navigator or Certified Application Counselor may apply on-line or by telephone even if on-line identity-proofing cannot be completed. 
5. Medically Frail. To avoid disruptions in care, provide for adults with special health needs (medically frail) who are otherwise eligible for CarePlus to enroll in Standard right away & at least during any advance notice period of a change in coverage to CarePlus. Discussed in MLRI/GBLS comments. 
6. Health Safety Net eligibility after termination from MassHealth.Provide more opportunities for Health Safety Net coverage for people terminated from MassHealth or ConnectorCare for failure to pay premiums. Both the MLRI/GBLS and HLA comments discuss this problem & suggest different ways of lessening the harsh penalties of denying all HSN eligibility.