FILED ON: 2/29/2012

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2164



The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Twelve



An Act regarding continuity of care for children and their eligible parents.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1:  The Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall pursue all reasonable efforts to automatically renew eligible children and families into the MassHealth program, through the adoption of the express-lane eligibility option created under Section 203 of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (PL 111-3), as it pertains to renewals, and through the extension of that approach to all children and their eligible parents enrolled in medical assistance under Chapter 118E. Specifically, the Executive Office shall seek federal authority under the 1115 Demonstration process, so-called, and/ or the State Plan, so-called, to automatically re-enroll all children and their eligible parents who are eligible for other state or federal assistance programs whose eligibility requirements are within the requirements for the applicable MassHealth program, pursuant to the investigation conducted pursuant to section 2.

SECTION 2: The Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall conduct an investigation of all federal and state assistance programs to determine which have eligibility requirements within the requirements of MassHealth and which could feasibly share data with the MassHealth program for purposes of automatically re-enrolling eligible children and their eligible parents in MassHealth.  The Executive Office shall submit a report on the results of that investigation to the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means, the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, the Joint Committee on Children and Families and Persons with Disabilities and the House and Senate clerks no later than 8 months after the effective date of this act. The report shall include the Office’s plans for complying with section 1 of this act for any programs found to have eligibility requirements that are roughly equal or less restrictive than those for MassHealth, or reasons why data sharing is not feasible with those programs and a detailed description of the barriers to such data sharing.    

SECTION 3:  The Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall provide families with renewal forms for all programs administered under Chapter 118E in which the fields have been pre-populated with the most current information known to the Office. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall also permit the submission of an electronic signature with an original or renewal application filled out on-line thru the use of the Virtual Gateway, so-called, or other electronic means. This section shall be effective 8 months after the passage of this act.

SECTION 4:  The Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall implement a program to permit renewal for children and their eligible parents in the MassHealth program at any health care provider that uses the internet-based application tool the Virtual Gateway or its successor, up to six months in advance of their renewal date.  Such program shall allow families to reapply for any MassHealth program administered under Chapter 118E of the General Laws and shall provide another 12 months of eligibility from the date of that application for any family eligible at that time.  Failure to qualify at that time shall not be cause for termination until his or her original termination/renewal date.  Implementation shall include seeking the federal authority necessary to carry out the requirements of this section.  This section shall be effective 12 months within the passage of this act.”