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Massachusetts’s Health Connector is a marketplace for residents of the state to shop for, compare, and choose a healthcare plan that fits their needs and their budget. Because many in the state are just starting to look into getting healthcare through the exchange, they naturally have quite a few questions about it. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the system.
Do I Really Need to Go Through Health Connector?
If you are able to get insurance through your employer, or if you opt to buy insurance on your own, then you do not need to go through the system. However, everyone in the state needs to have health coverage, or else they will have to pay a fine (unless they meet certain hardship conditions). The fines are currently $650 for an adult and $487.50 per child, or 2.5% of your income (whichever is higher).
When you go through Health Connector, you will discover a number of options and networks available. You can be sure that the plans all provide a high level of quality coverage with all of the basics included, such as hospital visits, preventative care, pediatric care, and more.
What Are ConnectorCare Plans?
Some residents of Massachusetts may have issues when it comes to paying for their health insurance. The ConnectorCare plans are a low-cost option that can help. With these plans, it is possible to get quality coverage that has low monthly premiums and out of pocket expenses, as well as no deductibles. In order to qualify for one of these plans though, your household needs to make less than 300% of the federal poverty level. Keep in mind that the FPL will adjust annually, so you may need to re-qualify in upcoming years. In addition, if there is a change to your income, you may no longer qualify.
What Do You Need to Do to Renew?
Once you are in a plan, it will renew automatically for you each year. As long as you are happy with the plan and the coverage, you will not need to do anything to renew. However, during the open enrollment, you may still want to check on some of the other plans to see if you might be able to find something that suits your needs and your budget more. Keep in mind that you will only be able to make changes during the open enrollment.
When Is the Enrollment Period?
The open enrollment period is from November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. You will need to sign up for a plan, or make changes to your current plan, during this time. However, some individuals may qualify for special enrollment. Those who have lost a job that had provided healthcare, who have a child, or who move are considered to have qualifying life events that will provide them with a 60-day period where they can shop for and buy insurance.
What If I Can’t Afford Healthcare?
If you can’t afford healthcare through the Health Connector system, you do have other options including ConnectorCare as mentioned earlier. In addition, you may want to see if you can qualify for Medicaid, which is a no to low-cost option for healthcare.
Those who have questions about signing up and getting enrolled will find that the state’s site offers a plethora of information and resources to help you get started.