Changes to the Application for MassHealth
By Darcy Rubino, Information Specialist – Mass Family Voices (FCSN)
If you recently applied for MassHealth or have been following the big changes in healthcare this year, you may have noticed that the MassHealth application has changed. The biggest change is in the title. The form is no longer called “Member Benefit Request (MBR)”. Instead, the name matches the federal form and is called “Application for Health Coverage and Help Paying Costs.”
The form is also longer, growing from 6 to 18 pages. Basics like household income and job information remain but each section has more detailed questions.
For example, the old section entitled Working Income only asked if you were offered health insurance through your employer within the last 6 months. The new application renames this section, calling it Part 3: Current Job and Information. MassHealth still wants to know if your employer offers insurance, how much it is, how often you pay premiums, and if it meets the Minimum Value.
In Part 3, most applicants’ eligibility for MassHealth and Qualified Health Plan credits/subsidies is now based on an income counting method called MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income). MAGI is used in federal income tax calculations and makes it easier to determine financial eligibility. Now that MAGI is used, changes will occur in the way certain types of income are reported. Child support, non-taxable veterans’ payments, and SSI are not counted as income.
Part 6: Rights and Responsibilities and Signature Page has a new section that asks specific questions regarding the collection of income data. MassHealth wants permission to take information from your federal tax returns to determine income level. This is part of the MAGI calculation. You can authorize MassHealth to use this data for 1-5 years. You can also opt out and not permit the use of federal data to renew eligibility. If you opt out, you will need to provide income information during your recertification period.
Another change to the application is the name of the section formerly entitled Absent Parent. The new name of this section is more aptly titled Non-Custodial Parent Section.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there are definitely many changes other than those to the MassHealth application. When you need questions answered, we at Mass Family Voices hope to be your go-to call. Please call us at 1-800-331-0688 ext. 301.