Bringing the ACA to All Communities in Massachusetts – Launching ACA Outreach Campaign

We want to keep you up-to-date on all the great outreach work that HCFA has been doing. If you hadn’t already heard, we are proud to partner with The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services and 10 local community organizations to launch a major public outreach campaign targeted to individuals and families in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking communities to explain the benefits coming to Massachusetts through the Affordable Care Act.

This initiative includes public events, focused ethnic media outreach, an advertising campaign, and distribution of educational materials to individuals and families statewide. These efforts will direct consumers to the Massachusetts Consumer Assistance Program (our HelpLine at 1-800-272-4232). We kicked off this campaign in Lawrence the other week with our partners.

HCFA, Seceretary Polanowicz and our partners

Health Care For All, Seceretary Polanowicz and our partner organizations

As regular readers of our blog know, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there will be new, affordable insurance options available for those still without insurance in Massachusetts. All insurance plans will have to show the costs and what it is covered in simple language with no fine print. Help is available in several languages online, by phone and in person for consumers to find the plan that best fits their needs. And we are busy getting the word out to implement the Affordable Care Act, especially in ethnic media around the state. Here’s just a few of the great articles from the launch in Portuguese and Spanish:

El Mundo: Compaña con Medios Latinos: Seguro Médico Para Todos

El Planeta: Nueva compaña de Health Care For All informará en español sobre los beneficios que traerá a Mass. la Reforma de Salud (See Page 8)

A Semana: Health Care For All lança nova companha educativa (Also see Page 8)

The ethnic media campaign is featured by two consumers who will benefit directly from some of the provisions included in the Affordable Care Act. From January 1st 2014, National health reform will help consumers – in between the 300% and 400% percent of the Federal Poverty Level who currently don’t have access to subsidized programs in Massachusetts – pay for health insurance. An estimated of 50,000 people who are in that situation in the state will benefit from these tax credits.

“My family and I are having a hard time paying for health insurance. My wife and I both work and do not qualify for Commonwealth Care because our joint salary barely surpasses the income limits for the current state program. We are making a big effort to pay the monthly premiums and deductibles on the private plan that we decided to acquire,” said Dionis Mezquita, a Lawrence resident who will benefit from tax credits through the Affordable Care Act. “It is great news for us to know that we will finally be able to access to some help to afford the health insurance we need.”

Dionis Mezquita, consumer, speaks at the launch in Lawrence

Dionis Mezquita speaks at the launch in Lawrence

We were also so pleased to launch the campaign alongside Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz. “By working with Health Care For All and our regional partners, we can ensure that individuals and business in every community have access to the information they need about new health benefits under the ACA,” he said.

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer and Secretary John Polanowicz

Amy and Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz

Stay tuned for more updates!

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6 Responses to Bringing the ACA to All Communities in Massachusetts – Launching ACA Outreach Campaign

  1. Pingback: ‘Renovating the House’ in Massachusetts: Strategies to Continue Outreach and Education | Enroll America

  2. Pingback: No, Obamacare Doesn’t ‘Start’ Oct. 1, But Here’s What Changes | IGV News Online

  3. Joe - Healtier than you says:

    Well, Chris: I’m in the same boat. It’s cheaper for me to not have insurance, and pay out of pocket for medical care (which has been nothing but annual checkups in over twenty years) But by paying the penalties, just think: You will be subsidizing those who are chronically ill, and have the attitude that they should receive $20,000 per year in medical treatment by simply paying a $4000 per year premium. And to add insult to injury, if they are younger than you and I, THEY WILL BE PAYING LESS!

    Oh and can we 1) Stop calliing it health INSURANCE. Lsst time I checked “insurance” covers unforseen events. Pre -existing conditions don’t make the cut. 2) Stop whining about uninsureds flocking to ERs. Catastrophic plans would have covered these types of events, but they’re not allowed because they would not subsidize the chronically ill who can’t go more than a week between doctor visits.

  4. HCFA says:

    Chris – The Connector will be setting the subsidized premium levels for next year soon. But we expect the costs will be close to what they are now. People below 150% of the poverty level will have an option with no premium, those from 150%-200% would pay around $40/month, and those above 200% would pay around $80-$120 a month, depending on income.
    And you’re right that people who turn down affordable insurance could owe both state and federal penalties, but if they pay the federal assessment they will get a credit lowering the amount due to the state. But luckily, hardly anyone in Massachusetts owes a penalty to the state, and we expect very, very few people to be assessed the federal charge.

    • Chris says:

      Thank you for your reply. Forgive me for not being clearer in my previous comment. I would like to see a table of federal tax credits to be used towards insurance premiums on a dollar basis–similar to the tax tables we see with income tax returns. For instance, if an individual earns $39,575 a year, how many dollars of tax credits will he or she receive? (Please note that this is not my actual income.)

      As to the double penalty, I ask because I am likely to be one of those people facing it. I am an adjunct college instructor who has no insurance offered at any of my three jobs, makes too much to qualify for subsidies under current Massachusetts law, does not meet the unaffordability waiver conditions, and cannot afford the Connector’s insurance premiums (and have no income during the Connector’s usual summer open enrollment periods anyway to pay for them).

      I wish I could afford insurance, but it’s frankly cheaper to pay the penalties and my medical expenses in negotiation with a doctor when treated than to pay over $3600 a year for a policy with a $2000 deductible. I understand the risks and that there will be additional open enrollments this year, but the costs are still too high. Frankly, the reforms at the state and federal level are making things more expensive, not less, for me. Neither law seems to take into account that some people have sizable fluctuations in income during the year.

  5. Chris says:

    Please provide a table of specific dollar amounts of subsidies based on specific dollar amounts of income.
    Please also explain whether Massachusetts residents without insurance will have to pay both a federal and state penalty, and if so, whether paying one will lower the amount owed on the other.

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