In response to COVID-19, MassHealth and the Health Connector continue to provide up-to-date guidance and information related to the public health emergency. Please review the following important message.
Across the country, we have witnessed the devasting effects the COVID-19 pandemic is having on many of our communities. And through it all, we have witnessed the resiliency and dedication of community organizations as they support critical public health efforts to keep Massachusetts residents safe. The role you play in this effort is key to helping individuals across the Commonwealth obtain and maintain health coverage.
We thank you for the support you have provided throughout these challenging times.
Vaccination Distribution Update
Beginning December 2020, the Commonwealth began vaccinating against COVID-19. Massachusetts is following a plan to provide the vaccine in three phases. People eligible as part of Phase 1 are able to receive the vaccine if they haven’t already. This includes health care workers, including home health workers, first responders, and people living in congregate settings such as long-term care settings, homeless shelters, and group homes.
Starting Thursday February 18, as part of Phase 2
, people age 65 and older and people with two or more health conditions
that put them at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Soon, people with one higher risk health condition and essential workers, including people working in food service, retail, K-12 and early education, and transit will also be eligible.
We strongly encourage Assisters to help eligible individuals schedule vaccine appointments when applying for health coverage. This assistance is extremely important to support a successful and equitable vaccine effort in Massachusetts.
Scheduling Vaccine Appointments
For clients who cannot use or have difficulty accessing the internet to book an appointment, the Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line is available to assist with scheduling an appointment through the state’s 211 assistance line.
Please note the availability of appointments through the call center is the same as the availability online. Due to extremely high demand for appointments and significantly limited vaccine supply, it may take time to secure an available appointment. Appointments are added regularly, so people should continue to check back if they do not initially find an available appointment in their area.
Scheduling Transportation to Vaccine Appointments
MassHealth is simplifying the process for members to access to transportation to and from COVID-19 vaccine appointments to ensure members are able to access all vaccine sites and make it to their vaccine appointments safely.
In addition, MassHealth is expanding access to transportation to vaccine appointments for members who are otherwise not eligible to receive non-emergency transportation services, including people with MassHealth Limited, Family Assistance, the Children’s Medical Security plan, or the Health Safety Net.
For COVID-19 vaccine appointments, members with a confirmed vaccine appointment can request transportation services through their health care provider, their health plan, or directly through MassHealth Customer Service by calling 800-841-2900 (TTY: 800-497-4648).
- Members will not need prior approval from a health care provider to make this request with Customer Service.
- A MassHealth health plan (Accountable Care or Managed Care Organizations), Certified Application Counselor, or a family member or caregiver can also make a request on a member’s behalf once they have a confirmed vaccine appointment.
Members enrolled in a Senior Care Options (SCO), One Care, or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program should continue to request transportation assistance directly from their health plan or PACE program.
What else should you know:
- Once a member’s request for transportation services is approved, they will be able to schedule their ride with their local Human Services Transportation (HST) broker.
- For vaccine appointments, MassHealth is waiving all geographic requirements to ensure members are able to make it to their appointment no matter how far away it is from their home.
- Rides should be scheduled with the broker at least 3 days in advance of a scheduled appointment, whenever possible.
- If a member needs assistance from a caregiver or companion during the vaccine appointment, and if that caregiver is not able to provide transportation for the member, they will be able to join the ride with the member.
- Approved transportation requests are valid for both the first and second dose appointments, and members can schedule transportation for their second dose as soon as the appointment is scheduled.
- If a member’s vaccine appointment is cancelled or rescheduled for any reason, they will be able to reschedule their transportation and will not need to get a new approval for transportation services.
Again, we appreciate your support and dedication to our members and look forward to our continued partnership through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.