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Published on April 19, 2024
Federal Nod Expands MassHealth Coverage, Targets Cost Reduction for Massachusetts FamiliesSource: Unsplash/ Marcelo Leal

MassHealth, the Bay State's Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program, has gotten a green light from the feds to open up its coffers wider and lower the strain of insurance costs on Massachusetts families, Governor Maura Healy's office declared today. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) blessed the program with an extension of its Section 1115 Demonstration, also known as the '1115 waiver', which means from now till the tail end of 2027, more residents can get a grip on affordable healthcare, and the system can innovate more freely to cut costs and boost efficiency. In a boost for those behind bars, the waiver allows MassHealth to cover a variety of health services for eligible inmates, including youth in Department of Youth Services (DYS) facilities, for up to 90 days before they're set free, as reported by

"Massachusetts has the greatest health care system in the country, but we need to make sure all of our residents can afford it and access it, this latest waiver amendment will expand access to high-quality, affordable health care for hundreds thousands of people who need it most," Governor Healey gushed, as lights up with this update. Dishing out further details, the amendment's green-lighting will let the Health Connector – the state's health insurance marketplace – spread out subsidies to more low- and middle-income folks, aiming for that sweet spot of universal coverage the Healey-Driscoll team is shooting for.

The 1115 waiver isn't just a one-trick pony; it's also prepping to roll out year-round membership stability for adults who are older or experiencing homelessness, doing away with the hiccup of losing coverage due to shifts in one’s lifestyle or income, and it's throwing the lifeline of temporary housing assistance for expectant mothers and families in dire straits, stated Governor Healey’s administration. This fresh suite of assistance measures extends the Medicare Savings Program, nudging the income limit up to the state statutory limit so that more low-income individuals can gain a helping hand with their Medicare premiums, according to

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh hailed the approval, noting "Massachusetts is committed to delivering high-quality and equitable care for Massachusetts residents," and it seems the rest of the Commonwealth's top brass, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, are standing shoulder to shoulder in this healthcare push; Warren worked months behind-the-scenes with the administration to drum up this federal backing that she says will prop up the state's health care system, also highlighted by Massachusetts government's announcement.

As for the Massachusetts Health Connector's chief Audrey Morse Gasteier, she credits the triumph to a solid tag-team effort between Massachusetts and Uncle Sam, and the sense of victory is also echoed by DYS Commissioner Cecely Reardon and Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi, President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association, who are both spotlighting how the waiver paves the way for an inclusive, effective, and compassionate criminal justice system dance. Cocchi in his statement given to the state’s government site underscored, "The extension of pre-release MassHealth services will enhance the well-being and future of those incarcerated by facilitating continuity of care and establishing trust for individuals 90 days prior to release."