PNS Daily Newscast - November 14, 2019 

New evidence arises from the first impeachment hearing; one in four federal student loan borrowers defaults early on; and growing proof that vaping isn't the healthy alternative it was thought to be.

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Daily Newscasts

Massachusetts' New Year's "Countdown" Starts - For Health Care

January 3, 2007

The second phase of the state's universal health care plan began with the New Year. Everyone making below $29,000 a year is eligible for "Commonwealth Care," and the countdown has started for every adult in the state to have health insurance by 2008. Those making between $9,800 and $29,000 dollars gross income a year who aren't covered by their employer can sign up; people making less than that have been eligible since before the holidays. Kate Bicego, manager of the Health Care for All helpline, says phones have been ringing off the hook for months with questions.

"We've about doubled our call volume since this program started October 1, and then today we've seen an increasing number of calls."

There are more questions to be answered about "Commonwealth Choice," a separate program for those making above $29,000 a year, and more options are expected to be available in July. Michael Dechiara from Community Partners says not everything is clear on how that will work.

"Because there's mandates associated with it, both for the employer and for individuals, people are trying to figure out how to do the right thing. Unfortunately, not all of the answers are in place yet."

You can ask any questions and apply over the phone by calling the helpline at 1-800-272-4232. You'll need to send in copies of your ID, citizenship papers, and verification of your income. Those who pick a plan and pay a premium by Jan. 20 will be covered starting February 1.

Those who aren't signed up for health insurance by next year will face $150 monthly penalties.

Kevin Clay/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MA