Come On, Massachusetts, Get This Pregnant Woman Covered

Jessica Stanford is now on MassHealth and has her first prenatal visit next week. She says she qualified for free coverage because she's pregnant. Her husband still doesn't know if he has temporary coverage and hasn't been told if he qualifies for a ConnectorCare plan. That's frustrating, says Jessica, "but we do not need to spend time fighting that battle. Our priority was to make sure I could see a doctor as soon as possible."

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Jessica Stanford of Sharon, Mass., is 40 and newly pregnant. She'd really like to see a doctor soon because she's had several miscarriages and developed gestational diabetes during her last pregnancy. But she doesn't have health insurance and is worried about racking up medical bills.

Stanford applied for subsidized coverage in early December. She keeps calling the Connector to find out about her enrollment status. One customer rep told Stanford she could take her application number to a doctor's office for proof that the state will cover her, at least temporarily, but Stanford wants something more certain.

The Connector says it has extended coverage, through March, to 254,000 residents who applied for free or subsidized insurance and all residents who have had government backed coverage.

The agency is sending out letters explaining a temporary coverage plan that begins today (Jan. 1) for 22,371 residents who, like Stanford, are applying for the first time.

But Stanford doesn't have her letter. The Connector is trying to expedite Stanford's case. If anyone else doesn't have a letter, let us know in the comments below and we'll forward your name. It might help.

But it's pretty obvious the application process is still a mess. Only 497 of the almost 50,000 applicants who filed online have a new ConnectorCare plan.  The agency can't say how long it will take to finish processing the other 45,000 applications or bring 89,000 residents who have subsidized coverage, but haven't even started to re-enroll, into the new, post Obamacare plans.

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The Connector issued this statement, along with the charts above, yesterday.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, thousands more Massachusetts residents will have health insurance in January 2014. This shared commitment to making health care accessible and affordable to everyone, and the partnership of Legislators, health insurance carriers, community organizations and countless other stakeholders, have helped us improve on our nation-leading record of health care coverage. We have achieved these results despite the IT challenges presented by a consistently underperforming vendor. As frustrating as these IT problems are, today’s news that we have met our goals of protecting the coverage gains that Massachusetts has already achieved through health care reform, and adding to the ranks of the insured in Massachusetts is cause for encouragement.”

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Martha Bebinger Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.



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