Podcast: Time Running Out for Those Seeking Health Insurance Coverage; State Offers Plans

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

For those that need health insurance in 2021 or already buy from the state’s marketplace for health and dental insurance, the open enrollment period is ending shortly.

A recent guest on WHAV’s morning program was Audrey Morse-Gasteier, who serves as chief of policy and strategy for the Massachusetts Health Connector. She reports many people are looking to pick up, expand or replace coverage due to a job loss, life-changing event or rate increase.

“And this is the time of year when any resident of Massachusetts can enroll in health coverage through the Health Connector and find their way to affordable coverage. This is the message we try to make sure people are hearing about every year during open enrollment. Health insurance and health coverage is always so vital, but that’s particularly true right now given the COVID pandemic and wanting to make sure people have all their health needs taken care of,” she says.

Morse-Gasteier says the Health Connector serves as a place for anyone in Massachusetts who doesn’t already have health coverage, whether it’s through their job, Medicare or Medicaid, to be able to get enrolled in a health plan. Moreover, there are low-cost plans for those households and individuals that qualify.

“We have special subsidies available for people who are low- and moderate-income to help make sure that coverage is either free, or very low cost. We have a special program called Connector Care that we run that most of our membership can qualify for. But even people who don’t qualify for those subsidies can get into an individual or family plan from any of the leading health insurance companies in Massachusetts. We have nine insurance companies and lots of different price points and types of networks available. So, it’s really where anybody who doesn’t get coverage some other way can come and make sure they are getting covered,” Morse-Gasteier explains.

And the Health Connector is popular among people who own their own business, or are working without health benefits.

“A lot of the people that we cover—maybe you’re employed but you don’t get offered coverage through their employment, maybe they’re a sole proprietor, they own their own business, so there are all types of people who get coverage through the Health Connector all across the income scale. People who qualify for subsidies, people who don’t, and people are often very surprised at how affordable the coverage they can qualify for is. Sometimes when we talk with people who are in gaps between health insurance, between jobs, they think it’s probably too expensive. I can’t afford it, but if you come to our website which is MAHealthConnector.org you can fill out an application, find out what you qualify for, check out the options available to you and get enrolled. We want to make sure people know to start coverage for the new year that starts Jan. 1, they need to select a plan and make a payment by Dec. 23,” she says.

For people needing assistance, Morse-Gasteier says they can go to MAHealthConnector.org, click on “Get Assistance” and connect with a trained, certified, navigator to help with the enrollment process.

Besides WHAV.net, WHAV’s “Merrimack Valley Newsmakers” podcasts are available via Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Alexa.

Comments are closed.