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Critical Coverage Deadlines for 400,000-Plus in Commonwealth

PHOTO: Members of the Health Care For All HelpLine Team are working overtime assisting hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents who need to renew their Medicaid eligibility. With the deadline so close, those needing assistance are urged to head to their nearest community health center. Photo ourtesy: Health Care For All.
PHOTO: Members of the Health Care For All HelpLine Team are working overtime assisting hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents who need to renew their Medicaid eligibility. With the deadline so close, those needing assistance are urged to head to their nearest community health center. Photo ourtesy: Health Care For All.
March 27, 2015

BOSTON - A critical deadline is at hand for hundreds of thousands in the Bay State to renew their coverage under the Medicaid program. Some already are past the deadline, but have a grace period until the end of the month.

Anyone who got a letter in the mail at the start of the year notifying them of the need to renew Medicaid eligibility needs to act now.

Maria Ferreira said she just renewed for the MassHealth program, and it took her about 20 minutes.

"Every year, you have to send papers and prove your income and that you're a citizen and everything else," she said, "but no big deal. They make it very easy for you."

Another deadline is fast approaching -- Saturday -- for families with children who qualify for Medicaid. Those able to renew online are urged to do so, and with the deadlines so close, those who need help are urged to head to their local community health center for assistance.

Hannah Frigand, who manages the HelpLine at Health Care For All, said they are reaching out to a total of more than 400,000 in the state who need to act now.

"The biggest group is 168,000 households," she said, "for the MassHealth Care Plus members who were in the old system, and are now needing to reapply."

Frigand said many of the folks who need to reapply have addresses that have been in the system for more than a year, and they may not have gotten notice because the address was wrong or because they no longer have a place to live.

"The state is paying very close attention to homeless individuals and homeless families," she said, "because we want to make sure that they are aware that they have to reapply."

In all, about 1.7 million people in the Commonwealth will be renewing Medicaid coverage at some point during 2015.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA