For Immediate Release - April 11, 2007

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES PLAN TO MAKE HEALTH CARE MORE AFFORDABLE TO THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES

MassHealth to waive child premiums for qualified families

BOSTON- Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - Governor Deval Patrick today announced that he has directed MassHealth, through Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby, to waive premium payments for children in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) when they have parents with Commonwealth Care coverage who are paying individual premiums.

As a result of this waiver, thousands of families will have more affordable health coverage. It could also save a family with three or more children as much as $84 per month in premiums.

"This administration is committed providing quality, affordable health care for all Massachusetts residents," stated Governor Patrick. "This proposal complements the efforts being made at the Connector to lower some Commonwealth Care premiums and expand health insurance coverage."

"This is absolutely the right thing to do for families," said Secretary Bigby. "I am pleased the state could provide additional incentives for people to secure health insurance through today's waiver announcement."

Currently, adults below 300 percent of the federal poverty level can receive subsidized health insurance through the Connector's Commonwealth Care program. However, if they have children receiving coverage through the MassHealth program, theycan face MassHealth premiums of $12-$28 per child. This change directed by Governor Patrick would help familiesafford quality health insurance through the Connector and assist efforts to expand coverage to low-income families.