The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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					                           The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
                      Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority
                                    100 City Hall Plaza
                                    Boston, MA 02108
 DEVAL PATRICK
    Governor
   TIM MURRAY
Lieutenant Governor

  LESLIE KIRWAN
   Board Chair

JON M. KINGSDALE
 Executive Director




   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
   CONTACT:
   May 1, 2007
   Dick Powers

   617-933-3141


                Commonwealth Health Connector Launches Commonwealth Choice Plans
                   Uninsured Individuals Now Have More Choice of Affordable Plans


   Today, the Commonwealth Health Connector launches its Commonwealth Choice health insurance
   plans, offering individuals unprecedented choice and affordability. The health plans, designed to help
   uninsured individuals get the health coverage they need, are now available for purchase by calling 1-
   877-MA-ENROLL. Information is also available at www.mass.gov/connector.

   Already, more than 69,000 individuals have become insured through the Health Connector’s
   companion plan, Commonwealth Care, which offers subsidized health insurance to qualifying low-
   income individuals. The Commonwealth Care customer service center handles 1,600 calls a day, with
   a 1.5 percent abandonment rate that exceeds the gold standard for health plan service.

   The new Commonwealth Choice program offers health insurance plans from six participating carriers:
   Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Fallon Community Health Plan, Harvard Pilgrim Health
   Care, Health New England, Neighborhood Health Plan and Tufts Health Plan.

   Each of these carriers offer three levels of benefits: Gold, Silver and Bronze, as well as Young Adult
   plans designed for individuals ages 19 to 26.

   “Massachusetts is taking a major step forward today towards ensuring that all residents of the
   Commonwealth have access to quality, affordable health care,” said Administration and Finance
   Secretary Leslie Kirwan, who chairs the Connector board of directors. “The Commonwealth Choice
   program offers a wide variety of health plans to meet the needs of individuals and families throughout
   our state. We are going to work tirelessly to educate people about the importance of having health
   insurance and new opportunities for them to get quality coverage at an affordable price.”
“Despite aggressive timelines, we are delighted to meet our May 1 goal to offer affordable health
insurance and a customer service center for our new CommChoice program, to assist individuals and
families choose affordable health plans,” said Health Connector Executive Director Jon Kingsdale.

“I am thrilled about our enrollment numbers at this relatively early point in healthcare reform,”
Kingsdale continued. “With more than 69,000 CommCare members, we are two months ahead of
schedule and look forward to providing the security of health insurance to thousands of more
Massachusetts residents.”

The Small Business Service Bureau of Worcester (SBSB) was chosen earlier this year as the
Connector’s intermediary and will be providing customer service at its call center. The
Commonwealth Choice Customer Service Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through
Friday, until mid-May when Monday through Thursday hours will be extended to 8 p.m. Individuals
will also be able to get information at SBSB’s walk-in center, located at 554 Main St. in Worcester.
Individuals can also e-mail questions to the Connector’s Public Information Unit at
connector@state.ma.us.

The service center had already received 426 inquiries by 10 o’clock this morning.

Later this month, the Connector will unveil its advertising and marketing campaign. Postcards will
soon be going out to close to 3 million Massachusetts taxpayers, informing them of the requirements
of the new law and of new opportunities available through the Connector. A letter detailing
requirements for employers will also be mailed to the state’s 193,000 businesses.


Background
The Connector’s mission is to connect individuals and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to
a range of affordable health insurance products that carry the Connector’s Seal of Approval. The
Connector can also help employers establish Section 125 plans, which will enable their part-time,
temporary employees - and others not eligible for their employer sponsored plans - to purchase
insurance on a pre-tax basis, saving employees 40 percent on average for their health insurance
premium costs.

The Commonwealth Choice plans that went live today are available to “non group” individuals and
families as well as employers of any size wanting to offer Section 125 plans. The Connector’s
offerings for small group employers (50 or fewer employees) who wish to contribute to the cost of
their group health coverage will become available later this summer.

Massachusetts’ new Health Care Reform law requires Massachusetts adult residents to have health
insurance this year. Those who cannot show they have health insurance by Dec. 31, 2007 will lose
the tax advantage of their personal exemption on their 2007 income taxes, worth $219. Penalties will
increase in future years.

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