Many uninsured in Massachusetts likely eligible for public health insurance programs

HSPH Prof. Nancy Turnbull recently wrote a post on WBUR’s CommonHealth blog about why many low-income Massachusetts residents remain uninsured. Citing data from a new report by the state’s Health Connector and the Department of Revenue, Turnbull wrote on December 13, 2011, that two-thirds of those who spent all of 2009 uninsured (114,000 people) had incomes below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. This should have qualified most of them for either the state’s Commonwealth Care program or for Medicaid, both of which have no premium to pay. Turnbull advocates outreach to low-income individuals who are currently uninsured and to those who will be newly eligible for Medicaid in 2014 when the federal health reform expansions go into effect.

“Of course, if we were to be successful in getting most of the low-income uninsured into public programs, this would have a significant impact on spending for Commonwealth Care and Medicaid,” Turnbull wrote. “But allowing 100,000 people who are likely eligible for public programs to remain uninsured is not an acceptable cost containment strategy.”

Read CommonHealth blog

Learn more

Read how Harvard School of Public Health researchers have been contributing to the national conversation on improving access to health care and reducing costs.

Department of Health Policy and Management

Inequalities in Consumer Health Spending Essential in Controlling Mass. Health Care Costs  (Turnbull’s June 26 post on WBUR’s CommonHealth blog)

Health Care for (Almost) Everyone (Harvard Public Health Review)