Massachusetts has again expanded health coverage affordability

Deadline approaching to enroll in coverage for the new year

Over the past years during and following the pandemic, Massachusetts residents have made major changes to adapt to our new social and economic landscapes. This means more people have been changing jobs, moving, and following their dreams of working for themselves. Significant numbers of residents are also transitioning from MassHealth coverage following the end of federal COVID-19 protections.

These changes can be stressful, especially when it comes to lining up affordable health coverage. However, Massachusetts, which led the nation on the creation of universal health care reform in 2006, has again moved to address the evolving needs of our residents.

This fall, the Healey-Driscoll Administration launched the largest state-financed expansion in health care affordability since the Health Connector was first created 17 years ago.

Under the leadership of Governor Maura Healey and the state Legislature, a two-year pilot expansion of the Health Connector’s flagship ConnectorCare program was included in the Fiscal Year 2024 state budget. This expansion lowers monthly premium costs and eliminates deductibles for more residents than ever before, allowing for thousands of dollars in savings on health care costs for those who newly qualify.

The new standards increase income eligibility limits from 300 to 500 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. This means an individual making up to $72,900, or a family of four, making up to $150,000 may now become eligible for ConnectorCare. This expansion will provide new cost savings to more than 50,000 people, on top of the 156,000 residents currently in the program benefitting from federal and state subsidies. These subsidies also mean ConnectorCare coverage doesn’t have deductibles.

What does this mean for regular people with changing circumstances? On a visit to Caring Health Center in Springfield, I met Brendan Arroyo, a marketing and multi-media consultant who was in need of affordable coverage.

Like many entrepreneurs, Arroyo did not receive coverage through an employer and did not think he had time in his busy schedule to research options for reliable, affordable plans.

Thankfully, Arroyo connected with Jessica Scott, a local Navigator at Caring Health Center, who provided the personal attention and care needed to quickly get him through the process. Now newly insured with ConnectorCare, Arroyo says it will allow him to continue to pursue his dream with the peace of mind that comes from being covered.

“I want other entrepreneurs to know that the Health Connector is a great resource we have here in Massachusetts for folks who do not have employer coverage,” said Arroyo. “It's always better to protect your dream than to leave things to chance, and it’s a lot more affordable and convenient than you can imagine."

People without health insurance, including those no longer eligible for MassHealth through the state’s Medicaid redetermination process, can access the newly-expanded ConnectorCare plans during Open Enrollment, which is happening now, through January 23, 2024.
However, to secure a plan that starts on January 1, residents need to enroll by Saturday, December 23, 2023, and make their first premium payment.

This year for the first time, all major carriers participating in the Marketplace are offering ConnectorCare plans, so there is both more affordability help and more plan choices than ever before. People can apply for ConnectorCare or other Health Connector coverage at, or can contact the Health Connector at 1-877-MA-ENROLL.

Whether you are pursuing your dream of working independently, just moved to Massachusetts, are transitioning from MassHealth, or are just shopping around for more affordable coverage for the new year, I encourage everyone to take advantage of our expanded ConnectorCare program.

No matter your reason or how you’re making your living, there is no better time to find health coverage than right now.

Audrey Morse Gasteier is executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector.