MEDFORD, Mass. – Following a landmark January 2012 Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decision allowing legal immigrants access to health insurance under the state’s Commonwealth Care program, Network Health today announced that Commonwealth Care Bridge members can enroll in Network Health Forward ®, Network Health’s Commonwealth Care plan, between February 13 and February 24, 2012.

«Network Health is committed to offering the stateÂ’s residents access to high-quality health care while maintaining our position as a lowest cost health plan,» said Christina Severin,
Network Health president. «We encourage Commonwealth Care Bridge members to take advantage of the special open enrollment period to discover what Network Health has to offer in terms of benefits and to learn about our high-value network of doctors, providers, and hospitals.»

Last month, the SJC ruled that a 2009 law that cut legal, permanent residents who have lived in the United States for less than five years from the Commonwealth Care program violated their rights to equal protection under the Massachusetts Constitution. This population, approximately 13,000 individuals, also known as Aliens with Special Status, has been insured by the Commonwealth Care Bridge program and is now eligible for Commonwealth Care under the ruling. Health plan changes under this special open enrollment period become effective March 1, 2012.

An additional 24,000 residents with special status who have been on a waitlist for Commonwealth Care Bridge will be eligible to apply for Commonwealth Care between March 1 and May 1, 2012. Open enrollment for the general Commonwealth Care population will occur in June.

Network Health Forward is offered nearly everywhere across the state. This means that most Commonwealth Care Bridge members can choose Network Health Forward as their health plan and in certain plan types, members will not even have to pay a premium. Commonwealth Care Bridge members can change to Network Health by calling the Commonwealth Care service center at 877-623-6765.

Commonwealth Care Bridge members who choose Network Health as their health plan will now have access to hospital systems including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lawrence General Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center, and the Berkshire Medical Center.

Network Health gives its Network Health Forward members access to additional benefits, such as preventive dental and vision care. Network Health also gives its Commonwealth Care members great EXTRAS, including $75 back on fitness activities, Weight Watchers discounts, and free health support with a 24/7 NurseLine; and offers an English and Spanish-language Web site where members can order ID cards, change their primary care provider, view authorization and referral status, use interactive tools like «Find a Doctor, Hospital, or Pharmacy,» and get up-to-date health information. Network Health also has friendly customer care specialists who can help in multiple languages.

Commonwealth Care offers access to high-quality, affordable health care for Massachusetts residents 19 years or older who earn at or below 300% of the federal poverty level, which is up to approximately $32,676 a year for an individual or up to approximately $67,056 a year for a family of four, and do not have access to subsidized health insurance, including employer-sponsored health insurance.

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