Boston's Morning Newsletter
New rules and blue envelopes: What MassHealth members need to know to keep their coverage
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The vaccine mandate for state employees isn’t the only COVID policy in Massachusetts changing this spring:
Do you or a family member get insurance through MassHealth? If so, keep a close eye on your mailbox for a blue envelope this month. As WBUR’s Garo Hagopian explains, the state is rechecking the eligibility for all 2.3 million current MassHealth enrollees — a process officials expect will boot up to 400,000 people off the state-run health insurance program over the coming year.
- Why now? The end of the federal COVID emergency means the end of the relaxed Medicaid coverage requirements that allowed everyone who was part of the surge in MassHealth enrollees in 2020 to keep their coverage, even if they became ineligible later.
- What to watch for: About half of MassHealth members will get a normal-looking letter saying their coverage will be “automatically” renewed. However, the other half will get attention-grabbing blue envelopes saying they need to take action or risk losing coverage. (Blue envelopes don’t necessarily mean you’re losing coverage — just that a response is needed.)
- The timeline: the year-long process has already begun on a rolling basis. (State health officials say some people may have already gotten a blue envelope.) Beginning April 1, those who don’t respond within 45 days could lose MassHealth coverage, even if they’re still eligible.
- Have questions? MassHealth is doubling the number of workers at its call centers to handle the expected increase in calls.
- What’s next: State House News Service reports the state’s Health Connector is opening a special enrollment period from April through November for those who do lose coverage.
Attorney General Andrea Campbell is warning that towns who do not comply with the state’s recent MBTA community zoning law will risk facing civil rights lawsuits from her office. In an advisory Wednesday, Campbell said towns could be in violation of fair housing laws if they don’t abide by the new zoning requirement, which says communities served by the MBTA must allow multi-family housing in at least one zoning district.
- So far, all but four of the 177 MBTA communities have taken steps to comply. And according to The Boston Globe, Campbell’s warning has nudged a few holdouts to reconsider their stance.
- Go deeper: Listen to this Radio Boston episode on how the law aims to address the Boston area’s housing affordability crisis.
Have you finished your bracket yet? There are only a few hours left before the NCAA men’s basketball tournament tips off — the first March Madness with legal sports betting in Massachusetts. Alabama, Houston, Kansas and Purdue are starting off as the top-ranked teams, but as we all know: expect upsets.
- Even if you’re not a college basketball fan, NPR intern Hassan Burke makes the case for filling out a bracket here (and fills us in on the tournament’s history and this year’s teams to watch).
- Tired of the couch? WBUR’s Hanna Ali recommends three Boston-area sports bars where you can take in the madness.
While there’s no Massachusetts representation in this year’s men’s tournament, there are three New England colleges to root for:
- Fourth-seeded UConn — the local team with probably the best shot to make a deep run — plays their first game tomorrow against Iona and former Celtics coach Rick Pitino. Vermont and Providence will also try to make noise in the tournament as lower-ranked underdogs.
- There is one Massachusetts college in the tournament on the women’s side: Holy Cross plays their first game tomorrow.
Meanwhile on the ice: The world of women’s professional hockey descends on Waltham tonight, where the two-time defending champion Boston Pride will host the first game of Premier Hockey Federation’s Isobel Cup semifinals at The Bentley Arena at 7 p.m. Tickets are just $25 — or watch on ESPN+ or NESN+.
P.S.— With the 10th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings approaching, WBUR’s Morning Edition is looking for young adults who lived in Greater Boston at the time to share reflections on that day. If you or someone you know might be willing to talk for a potential story, simply reply to this email or reach out directly to producer Laney Ruckstuhl at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!