The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law March 2010, is modeled after the Massachusetts Health Care Reform law of 2006. Both laws require that most Americans have health insurance with a minimum level of coverage, and the laws provide assistance with premium costs for low-income households. The biggest change the ACA brings to the country is the requirement that states provide its residents access to the health insurance marketplace, where they can compare and purchase health plans.
Massachusetts is ahead of other states with the Massachusetts Health Connector exchange already well established. Most Massachusetts residents will see little change in their health insurance as provisions of the ACA take effect. The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services and the Massachusetts Health Connector authorities are working to reconcile differences between the federal and state laws so that Massachusetts will be in full compliance when the ACA exchanges open for enrollment October 1, 2013.
1. Will Massachusetts residents still purchase health plans through the Health Connector?
Massachusetts Health Connector will still be the website residents will access to compare and purchase health insurance. The Health Insurance Exchange/Integrated Eligibly System (HIX/IES) replaces the Virtual Gateway residents have used to access health plans. The new system allows Massachusetts residents to shop for health plans, apply for assistance and enroll in private and public plans with one application. In 2015, Phase II of the HIX/IES will allow residents to apply for public assistance programs such as SNAP and TANF through the exchange portal.
2. How will the ACA affect MassHealth (Medicaid), Commonwealth Care, and other Massachusetts subsidized health plans for low-income households?
Under the ACA, Medicaid eligibility is expanded to include households with incomes up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) with five percent of …read more
Source: CBS local Boston