As COVID-era automatic renewals for MassHealth end, thousands of people across Massachusetts are at risk of losing their health care coverage. As a response, Pine Street launched the MassHealth Redetermination Campaign to assist people in retaining coverage.
While tabling at the Women’s Inn recently, Pine Street Inn staff members Linda Burston, Wesner Mazile and Veronica Denis talked about the impact of the campaign for people experiencing homelessness in Boston. Since the campaign began, they’ve provided services to over 280 and tenants, helping them maintain and understand their healthcare coverage.
Why is the MassHealth redetermination campaign important for Pine Street’s guests and tenants?
Linda: We want to make sure that no one falls through the cracks. Knowing what MassHealth covers is empowering for our guests and tenants. We’ve helped people find out that they can go to the dentist and get the eyeglasses they need. You should see our guests’ and tenants’ face once they know they won’t lose their insurance!
Wesner: Doing this work, we hear firsthand how the loss of MassHealth has impacted people. We had a guest who tried to pick up his prescription only to learn that he had no insurance. We spent two hours on the phone with MassHealth, and were able to get his insurance restored so he could pick up his medication.
If people have lost their housing, how can they get MassHealth notifications?
Wesner: They can use Pine Street’s address. This morning I helped several people update their mailing address so they won’t miss MassHealth notices.
Julia, a guest at the Women’s Inn was recently re-enrolled in MassHealth with help from our team. Before she came to Pine Street, she didn’t know her insurance was going to lapse.
What does your MassHealth re-enrollment mean to you?
Julia: I’m glad that Pine Street is doing this. I have a heart condition. If I didn’t have MassHealth, getting my medication would be a struggle and I would have to pay cash that I don’t have.