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MassHealth: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) —Applicants and Members

COVID-19 related information for MassHealth members and applicants.

In response to COVID-19, and to support the health and safety of our members and staff, all MassHealth Enrollment sites will be closed for walk-in visitors until further notice. If MassHealth members or applicants need support or have any questions they should contact the Customer Service Center at (800) 841-2900; TTY: (800) 497-4648. In addition, applicants can apply for benefits online at www.mahealthconnector.org

Table of Contents

Staying Safe & Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. These include washing your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, staying home if you are sick, and avoiding close contact with others.

 You can help also prevent COVID-19 with social distancing and wearing a mask or face covering when you go out in public. Stay home as much as you can and if you must go out: don’t gather in groups, stay six feet away from others, and don’t shake hands or hug.

 Learn more about preventing the spread of COVID-19, in your preferred language, on the Department of Public Health COVID-19 website.

Keeping Your MassHealth During the Public Health Emergency

You will not lose your MassHealth coverage during the COVID-19 national emergency.
If you have received a notice in the mail that your coverage is ending on or after March 18, 2020, your coverage is protected and will not end during the national emergency. You do not need to send in any additional paperwork to keep your coverage. Please remember, your coverage will end if you are no longer a Massachusetts resident.

 If you are having trouble paying your MassHealth deductible or premium, or have another change in circumstance, waivers are available.
​If you pay a deductible or premium, and this cost would cause undue hardship to you, you can apply over the phone or online for a hardship waiver at http://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-emergency-related-waivers-for-members-and-applicants.

 Report loss of wages or income due to the COVID-19 outbreak as soon as possible.

Report any change of circumstance, including change in income, to MassHealth as soon as possible by calling the Customer Service Center at (800) 841-2900; TTY: (800) 497-4648. You may be newly eligible for MassHealth or eligible for a different benefit level.

 If you are enrolled in a MassHealth health plan, and you need help getting or understanding your benefits or services, you can also call the My Ombudsman program. 

MyOmbudsman is available to provide independent support and assistance to any MassHealth member enrolled in a MassHealth health plan, such as an ACO (Accountable Care Organization), a managed care plan, One Care, SCO (Senior Care Options), or PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly).  

 An ombudsman can help you access services through your health plan, answer concerns or questions, and ensure you can access your benefits. My Ombudsman can be reached via phone at (85) 781-9898, via videophone at (339) 224-6831, and via email at info@myombudsman.org.

More information about MassHealth eligibility and benefits.

For more details on these and other temporary changes that MassHealth has made to certain eligibility-related policies and processes to improve access to necessary health care for new MassHealth members and existing members, please visit this guide. PDF | Word

 For more information about MassHealth benefits and services during the national emergency, please visit the FAQ below.

MassHealth Coverage for Testing and Treatment of COVID-19

 MassHealth covers testing and treatment for all coverage types and health plans.

 No matter which MassHealth coverage type or health plan you have, MassHealth will cover testing and treatment for COVID-19 at no cost when medically necessary.

 You can find a COVID-19 testing site near you at the COVID-19 Test Site Locator.

 More information about testing locations, COVID-19 symptoms, guidance, as well as other resources can be found at www.mass.gov/GetTested. If you have Health Safety Net, you should seek services through a community health center or hospital. ​

 Remember—most testing sites are not walk in sites. You may need to make an appointment to be tested. 

 Like you would do before any health care visit, please call ahead to confirm the appointment and make sure the provider accepts MassHealth or your MassHealth health plan (Tufts Health Plan, Commonwealth Care Alliance, etc.) and to confirm any additional requirements such as the need for pre-screening, physician referral and/or an appointment. You can call your health plan or visit their website with questions about their provider network. You can also visit www.masshealthchoices.com.

 Testing is free regardless of insurance or immigration status when ordered by a health care provider, and sites cannot charge MassHealth members for any part of the visit, including any on-site evaluation or screening.

 If you are not feeling well or have symptoms of COVID-19 contact your health care provider right away.
You can also visit www.buoy.com/mass to check your symptoms. The buoy website and app will tell you who to contact to receive care, if needed. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

 If you are not able to reach your doctor right away, you can get immediate telehealth services for no cost to you. A telehealth provider will discuss your symptoms and risk of COVID-19 exposure. The telehealth provider will recommend what type of care you should receive, and can prescribe medications as needed. MassHealth members can be connected to the following telehealth providers: ​

 PPE is available to MassHealth members who are COVID-19 positive and receiving certain direct care in the home.
 If you are receiving in-home services from a personal care attendant (PCA), independent nurse, or direct care worker and are diagnosed or presumed positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible to get a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), like gloves and face masks, delivered to your home to allow you to continue receiving services in the home and to keep your direct care worker safe. The following guidance provides information on who is eligible.
English ​
PDF | Word Spanish PDF | Word

 For Additional information about MassHealth Benefits and Services during the emergency, including access to dental services, please visit the FAQ below.

Accessing Health Care Services During COVID-19

 (If you have Health Safety Net (HSN) Coverage- please visit the HSN section of this website below)

 MassHealth members may NOT be charged any new or additional fees or costs by providers related to COVID-19 (or otherwise).

 Asking MassHealth members to pay any out-of-pocket fees for personal protective equipment (PPE) or other costs related to COVID-19 violates state regulations that require MassHealth providers to accept MassHealth rates as payment-in-full for rendering covered services to members. 

 If you are a MassHealth member and you are asked by your provider to pay any new out-of- pocket costs or fees related to COVID -19, do not pay those charges. If your provider requests that you pay a fee and/or will not provide services otherwise, please contact your MassHealth health plan or the MassHealth Customer Service Center at (800) 841-2900; TTY: (800) 497-4648.

 MassHealth covers telehealth services via phone or live video.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, MassHealth is covering telehealth services for both physical and behavioral health when appropriate. Contact your health care provider to discuss what phone or video options may be available for your needs.

 Resources are available if you need help with phone or internet access.

 If you are worried about having limited phone or internet access during the COVID-19 emergency, or don't think you have enough minutes or data to use telehealth services, MassHealth has created guidance on what resources are available to you.
English 
PDF| Word Spanish PDF | Word

 Pharmacy Services- ensuring you can get your medications.
MassHealth is allowing 90-day supplies of medications, and you may be able to get your medications delivered in the mail instead of going to a pharmacy, during the COVID-19 outbreak. Contact your pharmacist or health care provider to discuss these options.

 Guidance for Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Consumers.
MassHealth is committed to supporting members receiving PCA services to remain in their homes to reduce exposure to and spread of COVID-19. MassHealth has created guidance for members receiving PCA services to provide the most important information related to COVID-19 and their care 
English: 
PDFWord Spanish: PDF | Word

 If you or a loved one is a MassHealth member who receives PCA services and is struggling to access the care you need, call MassOptions’ dedicated hotline at (844) 422-6277 to be connected to services.

 Guidance for Families with Children Receiving Behavioral Health Services At Home or in the Community.
MassHealth has created an FAQ document to support families who have questions about their child's home or community-based behavioral health care 
English 
PDF | Word Spanish PDF | Word

 Supporting your mental and emotional health during COVID-19 is vital.
Emotional reactions to stressful situations such as new viruses and national emergencies are expected. Feeling sad, worried, overwhelmed, or having trouble sleeping or other symptoms of distress is normal, and there are resources available to you/your child. ​

 MassHealth members can get mental health or substance use disorder treatment over the phone, via live video, or through other telehealth platforms. To find a provider in your area, visit the new Network of Care website at www.massachusetts.networkofcare.org. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, you can also call the Department of Public Health’s helpline at (800) 327-5050. If you have a current provider, you can contact them to set up a visit over the phone or by video conference.

 If you or a family member are experiencing a crisis, the Emergency Services Program/Mobile Crisis Intervention (ESP/MCI) (“crisis teams”) are available for 24/7 crisis evaluation and stabilization. Instead of going to the emergency room, you can get these services in your home or at other locations in the community, either in person or using phone or video conferencing. Call 1-(877) 382-1609 and enter your zip code to be connected to your local ESP/MCI team or go to this link: https://www.mabhaccess.com/Search.aspx

 Additional mental and behavioral health resources can be found at:

 The Department of Public Health’s website at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/maintaining-emotional-health-well-being-during-the-covid-19-outbreak

The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership’s website at https://www.masspartnership.com/member/newsandevents.aspx

 Tufts Health Plan’s website at https://tuftshealthplan.com/covid-19/helpful-resources/overview

 And Optum’s website at https://optumeap.com/?lang=en_us

 Expanded food resources are available in your community during COVID-19. 

​As a result of COVID-19, one out of every three families in Massachusetts is experiencing food insecurity. If you or someone you know needs food now or needs help paying for food, there are resources available. This guide provides information about your options, including programs you may be immediately eligible for as a MassHealth member. PDF | Word​  Spanish: PDF | Word

 You can also visit https://www.mass.gov/lists/covid-19-food-assistance​ ​for more information on food assistance available during COVID-19. 

 For Additional information about MassHealth Benefits and Services during the emergency, please visit the FAQ below.

Information for Health Safety Net (HSN) Eligible Individuals

If you are not feeling well or have symptoms of COVID-19 contact your provider right away.
Contact your health care provider before going in person for a medical visit. You can also visit www.buoy.com/mass for online support or call 2-1-1 for additional guidance. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

 Health Safety Net will cover testing and treatment for COVID-19.
If you have Health Safety Net, you should seek services through a community health center or an acute care hospital.

 The Health Safety Net is covering some telehealth during COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Health Safety Net is covering telephone evaluations and home health visits. Contact your health care provider to discuss what phone or video options may be available for your needs.

 Pharmacy Services- ensuring you can get your medications.
Health Safety Net is also allowing 90-day supplies of medications, as well as medication delivery, during the COVID-19 outbreak. Contact your pharmacist or health care provider to discuss these options.

 For Health Safety Net eligible individuals who have a deductible, that deductible will not be collected during the COVID-19 emergency.

 For Additional information about MassHealth Benefits and Services during the emergency, please visit the FAQ below.

 

Information for Individuals Who Want to Apply, or Have Applied, for MassHealth Coverage

If you need health coverage and think you may be eligible for MassHealth benefits, apply online or over the phone.

You can apply for MassHealth online if you are under the age of 65 and do not require long term care.

 If you have any questions about how to apply, or are over the age of 65 or need long term care, please call our Customer Service Center at (800) 841-2900; TTY: (800) 497-4648.

 You may be able to self-attest to certain information to determine your eligibility.
During the emergency, if you received a letter that asks for information regarding your residency, income, or other circumstances, you may be able to provide this information through a self-attestation form. This form is available online at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-emergency-related-waivers-for-members-and-applicants.

 In addition, there are health care resources available to low-income Massachusetts residents, regardless of immigration status. MassHealth Limited is available on an emergency basis to all Massachusetts residents who do not qualify for public health insurance programs due to their immigration status, and will cover the costs of testing and treatment for COVID-19.

 The Commonwealth’s Health Safety Net program is also available to qualifying low-income Massachusetts residents no matter their immigration status, and will pay for testing and treatment for COVID-19 provided by hospitals and community health centers.​

Frequently Asked Questions for Members and Applicants

What is coronavirus (COVID-19) and how would I know if I have it?
For information on COVID-19, how it spreads, who is at risk, and how you can help prevent the spread of the disease, visit the Department of Public Health’s website.

 Will I lose my MassHealth benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak?
No, your MassHealth coverage will be protected throughout the COVID-19 outbreak national emergency. As of March 18, 2020, MassHealth will not end coverage for any member or any person who is approved for coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak national emergency. 

 I received a letter in the mail saying my coverage was ending soon. How can I keep my coverage during this outbreak?
If your coverage extends through at least March 18, 2020, your coverage is protected and will not be terminated during the COVID-19 national emergency. You do not need to send in any additional paperwork to keep your coverage. If you have questions about your coverage, contact our Customer Service Center at (800) 841-2900 TTY: (800) 497-4648.

 If I have questions about my coverage, where should I go?
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and for the health and safety of all MassHealth members and staff, we recommend that individuals call MassHealth rather than walk in to our site at this time. You can call the MassHealth Customer Service Center at (800) 841-2900 TTY: (800) 497-4648.

To apply for MassHealth benefits online, visit the MA Health Connector’s website at 
www.mahealthconnector.org.

 I would like to appeal my eligibility decision. How should I do that?
We recommend that individuals attend their appeal over the phone with the Board of Hearings at (617) 847-1200 or toll free at (800) 655-0338.

 Will MassHealth pay for a COVID-19 test?
Yes, MassHealth covers all medically necessary lab tests when your health care provider orders one. If you think you are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your health care provider, or call 2-1-1 for guidance.

 Will I get a bill for a COVID-19 test or treatment?
No. MassHealth does not require members to pay a copay for most services including lab tests, appointments with your primary care provider or behavioral health provider, and specialist visits.

 If I think I have COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, should I go in to my doctor’s office or the emergency department?
Contact your health care provider, use a free online tool to check your symptoms at www.buoy.com/mass, or call 2-1-1 for guidance. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

 I don’t have insurance. How can I get covered?
You can apply for MassHealth or the Health Connector online at www.mahealthconnector.org or call MassHealth’s Customer Service Center at (800) 841-2900 TTY: (800) 497-4648.

 I don’t have insurance and I think I might have COVID-19. What should I do?

Contact your health care provider before going in person for a medical visit. You can also visit www.buoy.com/mass to check your symptoms. The buoy website and app will tell you who to contact to receive care, if needed. If you have a medical emergency, call 9-1-1. Do not forgo medical care if you think you might have COVID-19. Talk to your provider about options available to you for COVID-19 testing and health care coverage.

 If you are not able to reach your doctor right away, you can get immediate telehealth services at no cost to you. The State of Massachusetts has partnered with Doctor On Demand to connect residents without insurance to providers who will discuss your symptoms and assess your risk of COVID-19 exposure. Telehealth providers will recommend what type of care you should receive, and can prescribe medications as needed. Massachusetts residents without health insurance can connect to Doctor On Demand Providers at www.doctorondemand.com. When registering, please select "State of MA-uninsured" as your insurance provider.

 Can I use telehealth or talk to my provider on the phone instead of going in to the office for a regular, non-COVID-19 related visit?
Contact your provider before any in-person visit to discuss options for that visit. During this period of COVID-19 spread, you can receive care via telehealth, which includes phone calls and live video conversations (such as FaceTime or Zoom).

 I need to see my dentist, but I heard dentists are not taking any appointments right now. What should I do?

Dentists have been advised by the Massachusetts Dental Society to remain closed except for urgent or emergency visits during the COVID-19 emergency. For more information about this recommendation, please visit: https://www.massdental.org/Member-Resources/Practice-Management/Coronavirus.

 If you need urgent care, call your dentist right away and follow the instructions provided by the office. We understand that many dental offices may be responding to calls or emails and are open for emergencies. Some may also offer some telehealth services (e.g. through video chat or other electronic means).

 If your dentist’s office is closed and not responding to voicemails or emails, if you do not have a dentist, or if you have other questions about dental care during this period:

If you are enrolled in a MassHealth health plan (e.g. ACO, MCO, or PCC) or the Health Safety Net (HSN), call the MassHealth DentaQuest customer service team at 1-800-207-5019 or e-mail http://www.masshealth-dental.net/MemberSubmitEmail for support.

 If you are having trouble connecting with DentaQuest or have other medical questions, contact your health plan and/or MassHealth Customer Service at: Phone: (800) 841-2900; TTY: (800) 497-4648.  HSN members may also try contacting their local Community Health Center or hospital.

 If you have One Care or a Senior Care Options (SCO) plan or are enrolled in PACE, contact your One Care plan, SCO plan or PACE organization directly for assistance.

 Should I be wearing a face mask or face covering any time I go outside?
A face covering may help prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to other people, and you should try to wear a face covering if you are in public. Visit the Department of Public Health's website for more information on wearing a face covering or cloth mask.

 If I need to stay home for two weeks or longer, can I get a 90-day supply of my medications?
MassHealth now allows 90-day supplies of medications and medication delivery during the COVID-19 outbreak. Talk to your pharmacist to discuss what options are best for you.

 Can I still receive transportation services through my PT-1?
Yes, transportation services remain available for MassHealth members with a PT-1. However, to make sure the non-emergency transportation system is able to support those most in need, we strongly encourage members to receive care via telehealth or over the phone rather than an in-person visit, when appropriate. Contact your provider to discuss what telehealth or phone options are available to you.

 I experienced a loss of wages due to COVID-19. Should I report this to MassHealth?
Report any change of circumstance, including change in income, to MassHealth as soon as possible by calling the Customer Service Center at (800) 841-2900; TTY: (800) 497-4648. You may be newly eligible for MassHealth or eligible for a different benefit level.

 Will the money I get from the federal government through their stimulus package impact my MassHealth eligibility? Will the additional unemployment money I receive impact my eligibility?
No. The direct payment from the federal government through the stimulus package will not impact your eligibility. Standard unemployment benefits will count towards eligibility, but the additional $600 per week allocated by the federal government in their stimulus package will not count towards your eligibility. The best way to find out if you are eligible for MassHealth benefits is to apply online at http://www.mahealthconnector.org

 Will COVID-19 testing or treatment hurt my chances at getting a green card or changing my immigration status because of the public charge rule?
No- the federal government has said that it will not consider testing, treatment, or preventive care related to COVID-19 as part of their public charge determination, even if it is provided or paid for by public benefits like Medicaid.

If you think that you may have COVID-19, do not forego medical care. Contact your health care provider, use a free online tool to check your symptoms through the 
Mass.gov website, or call 2-1-1 for guidance. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

If you have other questions about the public charge rule and MassHealth, visit: 
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/information-about-the-public-charge-rule-and-how-it-may-impact-you-0

 I receive care in my home and my caregiver says they are sick and cannot come into my home. What should I do?
If you do not have a back-up caregiver available, contact your health care provider to discuss what services may be available to you or call the MassOptions hotline at (844) 422-6277 to be connected to services. If you are experiencing an emergency or need immediate medical care, call 9-1-1.

 I receive care in my home and am showing symptoms of COVID-19. Should I still have my caregiver come into my home?
Call your caregiver to discuss your symptoms and whether they are equipped to provide appropriate and safe care to you. If they are not equipped to safely provide care, contact your health care provider to discuss what services may be available to you. If you are experiencing an emergency or need immediate medical care, call 9-1-1.

 My community day program closed. What should I do?
Contact your community day program to discuss whether or not they will be providing some services in the home or through telehealth or over the phone. In addition, contact your medical provider to discuss what alternative services may be available to you. If you are experiencing an emergency or need immediate medical care, call 9-1-1.

 My loved one is in a nursing facility. Can I visit them?
Follow the guidance released by the Department of Public Health regarding visitation to nursing or rest homes: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-recommendations#for-long-term-care-facilities-  and contact the nursing facility directly for additional guidance.

Helpful Links

For advocates and individuals who support others with applications or eligibility:

  • Eligibility Operations Memo 20-07: Updates to Hospital-Determined Presumptive Eligibility (HPE) Application Process PDF | Word
  • Eligibility Operations Memo 20-06: Updates to the Hospital-Determined Presumptive Eligibility (HPE) Application Process PDF | WORD

Other helpful links: 

For the latest MA-specific information on the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Apply for MH benefits online: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-masshealth-the-health-safety-net-or-the-childrens-medical-security-plan

MassHealth application (paper): https://www.mass.gov/doc/massachusetts-application-for-health-and-dental-coverage-and-help-paying-costs-0/download

MassHealth Senior and Long Term Care Application: https://www.mass.gov/doc/application-for-health-coverage-for-seniors-and-people-needing-long-term-care-services-0/download

Medicare Savings Program Application: https://www.mass.gov/doc/masshealth-buy-in-for-people-who-are-eligible-for-medicare-0/download

COVID-19 Test Site Locator: https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13

DPH Coronavirus website: www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus

CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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