Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

Every week we highlight the voices of real people that contact our Helpline every day. Once a week you will be introduced to a family whose life has changed for the better due to health reform. If you or anyone you know needs assistance applying for free or low-cost health care coverage, please contact our Helpline online, or call 1-800-272-4232. Here’s this week’s story:

Having been uninsured for almost seven years, Silmara (name changed), a homemaker, her husband, a self-employed mason, and two children finally learned they could get help applying for the state’s health benefits. It happened during a weekly church visit when she heard about Health Care For All’s Helpline. It would only take a phone call to have her MassHealth application filled out properly.

The following day, excited with the possibility of having access to affordable coverage, she contacted the Helpline. She was able to have the Commonwealth Care and MassHealth applications completed for her. Three weeks later Silmara and her husband were notified that they eligible for Commonwealth Care, with a monthly premium of $147.53, and their two children were eligible for MassHealth coverage.

Now that Silmara’s family was able to receive regular checkups, they found out about an early inguinal hernia in her oldest son. Silmara says that the doctor discovered it totally by chance. Her son had never complained about anything before. The pediatrician sent him directly to the urologist. The child would need surgery to have the hernia repaired. The symptoms of this hernia are typically abdominal pain. Because patients are typically not able to distinguish what is causing the pain, it can lead to emergency surgery. In Silmara’s family’s case it was discovered just in time to avoid all of the child’s pain. Here is a quote from Silmara:

“What a fortunate family we are. My son never had any kind of health struggles. His hernia was diagnosed and a couple of weeks later, he had all his exams done and surgery. The result was excellent and he didn’t have any side effects. Today, he is excellent. The recuperation was smooth and he had all the care he needed after surgery. Now I can say that we feel a lot safer. Any time we need care we can count on our health plan. We are so glad about all this protection offered to Massachusetts residents. I also told all my friends about the great job the Helpline does.”


Monika Lira Malhoit

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2 Responses to Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

  1. A.L.K says:

    I’m not sure what kinds of provisions you mean. Commonwealth Care is absolutely available to single adults, and the enrollment process should be the same for individuals and families (though kids will always go on MassHealth rather than CommCare). It sounds like you are having a tough time with an enrollment process- with MassHealth, perhaps? I don’t see how that could be a function of your single status. More likely something got confused with MassHealth and they are taking a long time as a result.

    My understanding is that while not the norm, this happens with enough frequency that outreach workers have gotten pretty good at resolving issues. It might be worth your time to visit a local health center or hospital or community agency to get some assistance working with MassHealth. Or, you could call the HelpLine; I’ve heard they are good at working out confusing situations with MassHealth.

    Either way, I hope you’re able to get the plan you’re eligible for really soon. It sounds like you’ve had a really frustrating experience.

  2. lotsakats1 says:

    In THREE WEEKS they had insurance for only $147.53??????? I started my paperwork back in mid May and I just got ANOTHER form that I have to fill out!!!!!!!!!!!Three weeks!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been ON HOLD longer than that…

    Oh wait, that’s right, I’m not a FAMILY. I am a single individual. There are NO PROVISIONS for singles….

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