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New! System Updates for the Online Application at MAhealthconnector.org

We are forwarding important new information from MassHealth and the Health Connector --
 
Information affecting ConnectorCare for people with income of 150% FPL or less
 
1. There is now a new option for selecting a managed care plan that is available to people with income of 150% FPL or less. People at this income level are eligible for a 0-premium ConnectorCare Plan. They can now check a box on the online application authorizing the Health Connector to automatically assign them to one of the 0 premium  plans if they do not select a plan for themselves. 
 
This will help avoid more people joining the thousands of eligible but unenrolled ConnectorCare individuals who missed open enrollment or their 60 day enrollment window some of whom with income between 134 and 150% FPL may now have only HSN-dental coverage in 2022. 
 
This new option will  be particularly important when the COVID public health emergency ends . Currently thousands of people who will be eligible for ConnectorCare are temporarily "protected" in MassHealth coverage. After the public health emergency ends, these "protected" MassHealth beneficiaries will need to complete a renewal and thousands will be newly eligible for ConnectorCare coverage. ConnectorCare, unlike MassHealth, does not begin until someone is enrolled in a plan. The check off option will help these newly eligible ConnectorCare individuals maintain health insurance coverage if they are eligible for a 0 premium ConnectorCare plan and haven't otherwise selected a plan.
 
2. In a related development, the Health Connector has elected to follow the lead of the HealthCare.gov (the federal Marketplace) and create a special enrollment period in 2022 for ConnectorCare members whose income does not exceed 150% FPL. This special enrollment period will enable them to enroll or change plans one time per month during 2022 without having to prove any other "qualifying event.". Eligible members will see a message in the eligibility results screen of their online account along with the "Find a Plan" button. 
 
This special enrollment period will enable individuals who are eligible but unenrolled in ConnectorCare in 2022, some of whom with income between 134 and 150% FPL may have only HSN-dental, to enroll in a zero premium plan (or to select a different plan with a premium).  It will also make it easier for people who elected the auto-assignment option and are not happy with the plan to which they were assigned to switch to a different plan in the following month. 
 
The Health Connector has not yet updated its website to describe this new SEP, but it should be posted soon.  
 
Information affecting verification of US citizenship or an eligible immigraiton status affecting people applying for MassHealth or the  Health Connector
 
3. The announcement below also includes important new information for proving US citizenship or an eligible immigration status for the Health Connector or MassHealth -
 
There has been an upgrade to the computer eligibility system used to process MassHealth and Health Connector applications. It will now make the application easier to complete for someone who is a US citizen or an eligible immigrant but does not have one of the documents listed on the screen. In the past, an applicant could not continue past this screen without calling customer service and being instructed in the "workaround" that enabled them to get to the next screen, identify their status, and see the message informing them to submit paper documentation. Now there is finally a checkbox on the documents screen for someone in this situation.  Under federal rules, US citizens and eligible immigrants whose status cannot be verified right away via an electronic data match must be enrolled in the appropriate coverage and allowed 90 days to submit paper documentation of their US citizenship or eligible immigration status. This is known as the "reasonable opportunity period"  and it will enable people to obtain coverage while gathering and submitting their paperwork.
 
The announcement also clarifies  that persons in the US during an authorized stay with a B-1/B-2 or other  nonimmigrant visa have a lawfully present immigration status for purposes of MassHealth or the Health Connector  and may qualify for benefits if they are Massachusetts residents and otherwise eligible. It  includes examples of situations in which someone with an expired nonimmigrant visa may still be an eligible immigrant as PRUCOL under MassHealth rules. (Individuals who are PRUCOL do not qualify under the Health Connector rules). And it includes links to recently updated MassHealth Guidance on Afghan Evacuees, Cuban-Haitian Entrants, and PRUCOL Verification.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: MAhealthconnectorUpdates <mahealthconnectortraining@state.ma.us>
Date: Wed, Apr 6, 2022 at 1:31 PM
Subject: New! System Updates for the Online Application at MAhealthconnector.org
To: <vpulos@mlri.org>
 
Assister Updates
Important News for Certified Assisters In Massachusetts
 
March 6, 2022
 
In this edition:
  • New! System Updates for the Online Application at MAhealthconnector.org
  • Reminder: Valid Nonimmigrant Visas
  • Reminder: Beginning April 5, 2022, Certified Assisters require an additional security step to sign-in to the Assister Portal
  • Reminder: Regarding system updates for the Online Application at MAhealthconnector.org  
 
New! System Updates for the Online Application at MAhealthconnector.org
 
On Tuesday evening 4/5, technical updates were made to the online application at MAhealthconnector.org. These updates are related to Release 24.2.
 
New Health Connector Auto-Enrollment Checkbox
 
The Health Connector is implementing a new auto-enrollment capability for certain zero-dollar premium eligible members.
 
  • Applicants will have an opportunity to select a box that will allow the Health Connector to automatically enroll them in a ConnectorCare plan type 1 or 2A $0 plan if they qualify and do not shop for a plan
  • ConnectorCare members that select the auto-enrollment check box would not have to take further shopping action to be enrolled in their plan when selecting this option
  • Only individuals with open SEPs would be auto-enrolled
  • If more than one $0 plan exists, the batch will enroll the eligible individuals into the plan with the lowest monthly premium for the underlying Silver plan
 
Tax implications for Auto-enrolled members
 
  • Like any member who enrolls in a ConnectorCare plan, these members will be responsible for reconciling any APTCs they receive
  • Counsel members before “checking the box” that this is a new feature that can help them get or stay enrolled in coverage; however by checking this box, they are accepting the responsibility for filing taxes and reconciling APTCs
  • Remind members to update their application throughout the year with any changes and especially income that could change the amount of APTC they receive to avoid repaying APTCs at tax time
 
Citizenship and Immigration 
 
The system update includes a new document selection option for both the Citizenship and Immigration document selection screens to allow individuals to indicate when they do not have a required document available from the predefined list.
 
  • U.S. Citizen Document Selection Updates
  • If an individual indicates they are a naturalized, acquired, or derived U.S. Citizen and their status cannot be verified by SSA, the HIX will present a new document selection option to select if they do not have a Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate available.
 
  • The new selection option will state: “I am a naturalized, derived, or acquired U.S. citizen, but I do not have a Naturalization Certificate or Citizenship Certificate, and I need more time to provide acceptable document information.
 
  • Immigration Document Selection Updates
  • If an individual indicates they have an eligible immigration status but does not have an immigration document available from the predefined list, the HIX system will present a new document selection option to allow the individual to select.
 
  • The new selection option will state: “I have an eligible immigration status, but my immigration document is not available at this time and I need more time to provide this information, or my immigration document is not listed above, or my immigration document does not have the required information.
 
When either of these options are selected, either a citizenship or immigration RFI will be sent to the member or applicant. The applicant or member will be given a reasonable opportunity period (90 days) to provide proof of their citizenship or immigration document.
 
Individuals who need more time to provide proof of immigration status can request a reasonable opportunity extension. The extension must be requested before the original immigration RFI due date. Once granted, the extension will give up to 90 more days to provide immigration proof.
 
Note: 
 
  • The new “no document” type selection options will contain tool tips and users should select this only if they have a valid citizenship or immigration status, but do not have a required document from the predefined list provided in HIX.
 
  • The following are examples of applicants who may be expected to use the new “no document” selection options:
  • Individuals who are newly naturalized and have not yet received their naturalization certificate.
  • PRUCOL individuals who have applied for an immigration status but have not been granted a status yet and do not have a document available from the predefined list (e.g. PRUCOLs with I-797 applications that do not contain Alien or I-94 numbers.)
  • Afghan Evacuees or Cuban/Haitian Entrants who have fled their countries and did not have an opportunity to get their immigration documents in order.
 
Reminder: Valid Nonimmigrant Visas
 
Per MassHealth regulations, applicants, and members with valid, unexpired “nonimmigrant visas” such as B1 (work visa) and B2 (visitor) visas are considered Immigrants Lawfully Present (ILP). Other valid nonimmigrant visas such as J1 (work and study-based exchange visa) and F1 (student visa) would also place a member into ILP status. If an applicant or member with a nonimmigrant visa satisfies residency and other requirements, they may be eligible for MassHealth benefits or Health Connector coverage.
 
In some situations, a person may enter the country on a valid nonimmigrant visa and apply for a different immigrant status during that time. If an applicant’s nonimmigrant visa expires, but the applicant can provide proof of their filed application for an upgraded status with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or for an extension of their visa (and they do not yet have employment authorization) they may qualify for PRUCOL or Person Residing Under Color of Law status.
 
In some situations, if a nonimmigrant visa expires, and the applicant or member has not yet applied for an extension or an upgraded status, they may qualify for PRUCOL status if the circumstances of their case indicate that DHS is not contemplating enforcing departure. An example of this situation currently would include a Ukrainian individual who entered after March 1, 2022, who has an expired visitor visa, and has not yet applied for a visa extension or for an upgraded status. 
 
Please review an applicant or member’s immigration documents carefully to ensure accuracy in determining the most appropriate benefits.
 
Please review these recently published MassHealth Eligibility Operations Memos, which have important information about eligibility for certain noncitizen groups
 
 
 
 
Note, Certified Application Counselors and Navigators can review information about different categories of immigration, including PRUCOLs, in Citizens and Noncitizens course found in the LMS.  
 
Learn More
 
To learn more about each of these new system enhancements, please attend one of the upcoming Learning Series presentations as part of the Spring MTF webinars . During those sessions, staff from the Health Connector and MassHealth will review each of these updates and answer your questions.
 
Reminder: Beginning April 5, 2022, Certified Assisters require an additional security step to sign-in to the Assister Portal
 
The Assister Portal is now using Multifactor Authentication (MFA) to verify the Assister Portal user’s identity each time a user signs in to the Assister Portal. Each time you sign in, MFA sends a code to your cell phone or email, or provides a phone call with a code, that you must enter so that you can sign in.
 
There are several steps that all Assister’s must take prior to the start of MFA such as adding a phone number to their Assister Portal account. If you have not already done so, you must add your phone number to your Assister Portal account to successfully sign in.
 
Please review the three job aids available in the LMS for detailed instructions on how to set up MFA, how to sign in to MFA once set up, and an FAQ for troubleshooting issues. The three job aids can be accessed by signing in to the LMS and clicking on Resources and then the Assister Portal Multifactor Authentication folder, or by clicking the link below:
 
 
MassHealth and the Health Connector will also hold two webinars to discuss the use of MFA. Please see details below to register for the remaining session.
 
Certified Assister Multifactor Authentication Session 2
 
Date: 4/7/2022
Time: 11am-12pm
Registration link:
 
Please note that failing to complete the required actions outlined in the job aids may result in your inability to access the Assister Portal beginning on April 5, 2022. Your cooperation and attention to this new requirement is appreciated.
 
Reminders regarding system updates for the Online Application at MAhealthconnector.org
 
It is recommended that following any systems release or update, Assisters should clear their cache or internet history before accessing the online application or the Assister Portal for a better web experience (if you need assistance, please check with your PC support team).
 
For more technical information, visit https://www.mahealthconnector.org/start then scroll down to choose the subsection: How to clear your browser's cache (history/memory).  
 
Thank you,
MassHealth and the Health Connector
 
 
MassHealth | The Health Connector, Boston, MA 01225