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Health Update -April 19, 2022

Public Charge Comment Deadline Approaching

Has your organization signed on to the PIF public charge comment yet?
 

We are encouraging Massachusetts organizations to sign on to the national comments prepared by the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) network. Those comments can be viewed here, and the form to sign-on is available hereThe deadline PIF has set to sign on is this Thursday April 21, 2022. 

 

Covid-19 Public Health Emergency Extended for Another 90 days from April 16, 2022

FY 2023 Budget: MLRI Summary of HWM April 13 budget

Some differences between the House Ways and Means (HWM) bill and the Governor’s Jan bill include HWM proposing to expand the Medicare Savings Program not just from 165% FPL to 200% but up to 250% FPL.  Advocates for older adults are pushing for a House budget amendment to increase the asset test too. HWM also adds a provision directing the Health Connector to create a 2-year pilot program to expand the upper income limit for ConnectorCare from 300% to 500% FPL starting in June 2023.

MassHealth increases post-partum coverage from 60 days to 12 months effective April 1, 2022

Effective April 1, 2022, the general rule extending MassHealth Standard to pregnant people regardless of immigration status during their pregnancy and for 60 days post-partum is changing to a 12 month post-partum period. This is a new state option that was enacted by ARPA last year but only took effect on April 1, 2022.  Pregnant people have been protected from losing MassHealth Standard during the COVID emergency, this permanent rule change will be important to have in place when the COVID 19 emergency ends. The policy is described in Eligibility Operations Memo 22-07 (April 2022). There should be a proposed rule-making at a later date with an opportunity to comment on some of the details.

ConnectorCare

·         ConnectorCare-eligible individuals whose income does not exceed 150% FPL now have an opportunity to enroll or change plans one time per month during 2022

 

·         Starting April 6 2022: the Health Connector online application includes a check-box to authorize auto-enrollment into a zero premium contribution health plan for ConnectorCare eligible people with income of 150% FPL or less who don’t select a plan on their own

 

·         IRS proposes a rule to fix the “family glitch”

Individuals offered “affordable” employer-sponsored insurance are not eligible for Premium Tax Credits or ConnectorCare. The family glitch was created by the IRS rule in place since 2014 that only looks at the cost of coverage for the employee in defining what’s “affordable” for the employee’s family. The IRS is proposing a rule to fix the family glitch by looking at premium costs for the employee and family members in deciding if employer-sponsored insurance is affordable for the family members. Comments are due by June 6, 2022.

 

Ukrainian TPS Is Available Starting April 19, 2022 for Ukrainians Who Have Been In the US since April 11, 2022     A March announcement set the date as March 1 but it was subject to publication of the details in the Federal Register which just happened yesterday. TPS will primarily affect health coverage for Ukrainians who were visiting the US; most who evacuated during the war we understand have been paroled into the US. TPS and Parole are both “Lawfully Present” for purposes of health coverage. Applicants for TPS who don’t yet have work authorization will be PRUCOL for purposes of health coverage.