Medicaid is both a federal and state-based program. In the state of Massachusetts, the Medicaid program is called “MassHealth.” MassHealth beneficiaries have access to low-cost hospital services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, and more. After reading through our guide, reach out to us with any questions or concerns you might have. We specialize in Medicare but may be able to help you with other health benefits in the state of Massachusetts.
All Medicaid programs are required to cover the same set of benefits, but each state has the ability to add more benefits according to its resident’s needs. The MassHealth program covers hospital services, doctor services, prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse, and so much more.
MassHealth covers prescription drugs, always starting with generics. Some brand-name drugs may be covered, but your doctor will have to submit a “prior authorization” form with proof that you need the brand-name drug before MassHealth will cover it. Most MassHealth beneficiaries will have to pay a small copayment (usually between $1 and $4) for prescription drugs. Click here for the MassHealth formulary.
If you have both Medicare and Medicaid, your prescription coverage will come from your Medicare benefits, not Medicaid. You’ll need either a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage.
Under federal regulations, kids with Massachusetts Medicaid will have access to most dental services. However, adults will only have access to cleanings, fillings, and x-rays. Advanced procedures like root canals and crowns are not covered for adults. Thankfully, there is a program in Massachusetts called “Health Safety Net.” MassHealth members who qualify for Health Safety Net can get free dental care. Qualifications for this program are based on the size of your medical bills, the type of health insurance that you currently have, and your Massachusetts residency. If you are accepted into the program, you’ll get free fillings, root canals, crowns, dentures, etc. according to your medical need.
Medicaid will cover ambulance services for individuals with a medical need. Uniquely, eligible beneficiaries can also get coverage for non-emergency transportation. This refers to taxi or accessible ran rides to and from doctors appointments. To be eligible, your doctor must complete a “prescription” for your transportation, certifying that you require assistance getting to and from your appointments. Some people with severe medical and financial needs may be able to get rides to and from a pharmacy as well. However, we recommend ordering your prescriptions online whenever possible, not just for ease but also to save time and money.
Massachusetts Medicaid can cover medically necessary therapy services with some limitations. After 20 physical or occupational therapy visits (or 35 speech/language therapy visits), you’ll have to obtain authorization for more coverage. Your therapist can submit a request for prior authorization for you.
If you are traveling outside of the state of Massachusetts and run into a medical emergency, don’t panic - you might be able to use your Medicaid coverage outside of Massachusetts. Show your MassHealth coverage card in whatever facility you find yourself in, and be sure to alert your primary physician back home that you received treatment elsewhere. Even if your out-of-state doctor is not able to accept your MassHealth card as insurance, you can file a claim for reimbursement when you get back home.
There are three types of Massachusetts Medicaid plans, and six variations of those plans. The three types are Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), and Primary Care Clinicians (PCCs). The main difference between the three types is the way in which the doctors are paid. The real difference for you will be between the six variations of Medicaid plans:
When your application is accepted, you will be automatically placed into the plan that makes the most sense for your income, citizenship, age, and circumstances.
The Standard plan is the most comprehensive and is the plan that most applicants will fall into. It covers:
The CommonHealth program is similar to the Standard program but is exclusively for disabled people who do not qualify for the Standard program. You may need to pay a small monthly premium for the CommonHealth program. Benefits include everything that the Standard program covers.
The Family Assistance program is a limited version of Massachusetts Medicaid for people who are not permanent U.S. citizens but are still in the country legally. Coverage is limited to:
The Limited program is basically a more limited version of the Family Assistance program. It is for those who are not permanent U.S. citizens but are in the country legally and are over the age of 65. Benefits are limited to:
The Massachusetts Medicaid Buy-In programs do not offer health benefits but provide financial coverage to those who need assistance paying for Medicare. The Senior Buy-In program is for those ages 65 and older who qualify based on income. It will cover Medicare Part A and B premiums, copayments, and deductibles, except for those relating to prescriptions. The other Buy-In program is for anyone below the age of 65 who has Medicare due to a disability. It can cover the Medicare Part B monthly premium.
Most people with Medicaid in Massachusetts will not have to pay very much at all for covered health services. Most drugs will only require a copayment of $1-4, and hospital stays will usually only cost $3. Those who are pregnant, under 21, or living in a care facility or hospice will usually not owe any copayments. Additionally, those in the “Limited” or “Buy-In” plans or are receiving services from the Indian Health Service will usually not face copays.
Emergency services, mental health services, inpatient hospital drugs, and family planning will never require a copayment. There is a copay max for every individual Massachusetts Medicaid member of $250 for drugs and $36 for hospital visits. That means that in any given year, once your costs hit those numbers, you will no longer owe any copayments for your covered services.
To be eligible for Massachusetts Medicaid, you must be a Massachusetts resident, a verified citizen or legal alien, and financially eligible based on the number of people in your household and your “MAGI,” Modified Adjusted Gross Income. Not sure what your MAGI is? You can find it in your tax paperwork on line 37 of the 1040 form, line 21 of the 1040A form, or line four of the 1040EZ form.
You can apply for programs online by clicking here. To use this application, you must be under the age of 65 and not living in (or plan to be living in) a long-term care facility. Those in long-term care or over 65 should apply here instead.
For your application, you may need the following information for each household member who is applying:
If you would rather enroll in person, there are a handful of enrollment centers throughout the state that can help you. You should NOT send applications to these centers, but you can visit them in person for assistance. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:45 AM to 5 PM.
If you meet the Massachusetts Medicaid income requirements and also qualify for Massachusetts Medicare, you can benefit from both programs. For free help enrolling in a dual plan (for both Medicare and Medicaid), complete this brief form or give us a call at 833-438-7676.
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