How Can I Get My Family Health Insurance in Massachusetts?
August 30, 2011 5:12 AM   Subscribe

Family health insurance coverage in Massachusetts? I'm an unemployed single mom with three kids and our BCBS ends 9/30. I have the option of $1900 COBRA or...what are my options?

I'm confused by the MA options: I can either do COBRA on my own (not affordable), or there's MassHealth, or are there other options of which I'm unaware?

My ex-husband will not respond to requests to get us on his insurance.

Monkeywrench problem: in my divorce agreement because I was the only working at the time, I agreed at that time to be responsible for insurance for the kids and my ex (since then he has gotten insurance through his job). Would I have any luck going to court to change the agreement to get him to add us?
posted by kinetic to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
IANAL, but this really does sound like a situation where an ammendment to the divorce agreement makes all kinds of sense because circumstances have changed. Contact your attorney to see if you can change the decree to something that will be more equitable given your current circumstances.
posted by goggie at 5:33 AM on August 30, 2011

Sorry for your dilemma. I just wanted to pop in to say that my fiancee was on MassHealth for two years, and actually liked it more than her current employer-sponsored PPO. YMMV.

Definitely talk to your attorney.

Good luck.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:34 AM on August 30, 2011

Check out Mass Health Connector for reasonably priced plans.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:41 AM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

You live in Massachusetts. Everyone is covered. And because you are unemployed with kids, your monthly premium will probably be extremely low. As others have said, go to the Mass Health Connector! My brother is self employed and was paying for his own plan outside of the connector. Last year the insurance company sent him a letter telling him his premium would DOUBLE immediately. He then went to the connector and got the same coverage and access for 50% of the original cost.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 6:09 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Clicking through the Mass Health Connector, it looks like a family of four is eligible for subsidized health care with an income of less than $67,000 per year. In fact, it looks like your premium could be zero, based on this chart.

I only wish I lived in a state so civilized.
posted by The Michael The at 6:30 AM on August 30, 2011

Yup, you're in really good shape being in Massachusetts; definitely go to the Connector website linked above--if you apply there, they will screen you for eligibility in all the health programs. You will definitely be able to get reduced-cost coverage; in fact, if you're receiving unemployment insurance, they even have a program called the Medical Security Program where they'll cover up to 80% of your premiums for COBRA.
posted by iminurmefi at 7:06 AM on August 30, 2011

MA has two insurance programs: Commonwealth Care (which is subsidized and you might qualify for) and Commonwealth Choice (which is a market for purchasing insurance).

Unfortunately, you are not eligible for Commonwealth Choice if you have COBRA as an option, at least according to my recent experience. I'm not sure about Commonwealth Care.

I recently left my finance job which had "cadillac insurance", which meant the COBRA payments for me (a single guy in my 20's) were $700/month. The MA Health Connector had great plans for me in the $200 range so I called and talked to them at length to figure out how to get on those instead. My previous insurance ended 4/30/11. This is what I had to do.:

1) I had to make myself ineligible for COBRA. COBRA is automatically available to you for two months after your previous insurance ends, so I had to wait these two months out without applying for my COBRA. (This was like "phantom insurance", since during those two months I could retroactively sign up for it if something happened.)

2) As of 7/1/11, I was no longer eligible for COBRA so I could sign up for an MA Health Connector plan. However, this new plan did not kick in until 8/1/11. That meant I was without health insurance for the month of July.

3) As of 8/1/11, my new plan was now active, and I once again have health insurance.

So, bottom line, call them (1-877-MA-ENROLL) and walk through your options with them. The people are very knowledgeable and very friendly. I gave you my story just so you know there are weird corner cases that don't work well in the system. I spent a lot of time trying to figure my way around it, but in the end I couldn't find a way.
posted by losvedir at 7:31 AM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

Excellent options. In the time since I posted this, my lawyer called the ex and said he could either put us on his insurance or a court would force him to, and he decided to put me and the kids on his insurance.
posted by kinetic at 1:50 PM on August 30, 2011

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