The law requires that commercial health insurers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., and health maintenance organizations offer an extended election period to any individual who:
- was eligible for the carrier's small group continuation coverage at any time between September 1, 2008 and February 16, 2009;
- did not elect such continuation coverage or dropped such coverage during this period; and
- would be an assistance-eligible individual under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act if such election were in effect.
Beginning on July 2nd and ending 60 days after the carrier issues written notice to the individual of such continuation coverage, eligible individuals may elect continuation coverage. An individual's continuation coverage will begin on the first coverage period after the election of such coverage.
Carriers must send written notice by August 31, 2009, to each qualified beneficiary advising them of the extended election period and that the election period will last 60 days from the postmark on the letter transmitting the notice. Carriers may require that eligible small businesses, or intermediaries, issue such notices.
Individuals who are eligible for the Medical Security Program may also be entitled to this new benefit, which will dramatically reduce their health insurance premiums.
If you have any questions regarding this new benefit, please call Nancy Schwartz at the Massachusetts Department of Insurance (617-521-7347). If you have any questions about the Medical Security Plan, please call the plan directly at 1-800-908-8801, or visit www.mass.gov/dua/msp.