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Obamacare, Massachusetts and the Health Connector: What is and isn't a scam

Posted by Mitch Lipka  September 17, 2013 04:43 PM

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Being a consumer in Massachusetts can be unlike the experience anywhere else. We’ve got all sorts of laws – good as well as quirky. So, it stands to reason that as the first state in the country with its own health care insurance exchange, the Massachusetts Health Connector, there might be some confusion.

We’re about two weeks away from the first stage of the federal health care law reaching consumers. And while the law is similar to what we have, it isn’t the same. The result is going to be some changes that the quarter-million consumers now using the Connector are going to have deal with.

Nationally, there have been some well-publicized scams tied to the implementation of The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), but the folks at the Connector want people to know they are conducting a legitimate education campaign to help Massachusetts residents sort out the coming changes. That involves letters, emails, robocalls, and phone calls. “If consumers get a call or email from us and are unsure if they are getting a legitimate call, we strongly encourage them to go to our website or call our customer service number on their own,” Connector spokesman Jason Lefferts said.

The website is MAhealthconnector.org and the phone number is 877-MA-ENROLL.

So far, it appears the changes are largely to the benefit of those who use the system, mainly folks who don’t receive insurance through an employer. Expect to see more choices, more insurance carriers, dental coverage, and a higher income figure to qualify for subsidies.

Another big change is a shift in the open enrollment period, which starts Oct. 1 and runs through March 31. What that means is that those who recently picked a policy will have to once again make a selection before the end of March and re-enroll. (Some will have a Jan. 1 start date for their new policies.)

“Members will be able to find the same kinds of coverage, maybe even better coverage, but it will be in a slightly different plan,” Lefferts said.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com

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