Mass regulators weigh relief plan for families with ties to Haiti

Family members of Haiti earthquake victims who are enrolled in state-subsidized health care plans would get a reprieve from premiums this year, under plans outlined by state health care regulators Thursday. The move, according to Connector Authority Executive Director Jon Kingsdale, is aimed at relieving financial pressure on Massachusetts residents sending money to their loved ones. The plan will be built into the Connector’s regulations and appears poised to move forward without a vote by the agency’s 11-member board. Of Commonwealth Care’s 150,000 enrollees, 79,000 pay premiums. Connector officials say they can determine which enrollees have relatives affected by the earthquake through an existing hardship process. The plan was suggested by board member Celia Wcislo, a labor leader with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Kingsdale said. When the change will be implemented and whether it will apply retroactively to the date of the earthquake, Jan. 12, are questions that are still being reviewed, Kingsdale said.