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Sue Bush
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Joffe-Halpern Appointed To Health Insurance Connector Board

12:00AM / Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Charles "Chip" Joffe-Halpern
North Adams - Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly has appointed Charles "Chip" Joffe-Halpern, executive director of Ecu-Health Care of North Adams, to the state's new Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Board, which will implement the healthcare law requiring all residents to have insurance by July 2007.

The 11-member board will make critical decisions about the new law, the first of its kind in the country, including: defining affordability standards for Massachusetts residents, determining premium subsidy guidelines for individuals whose incomes are under 300% of the federal poverty guidelines, and developing benefit guidelines for the Commonwealth Care Health Insurance programs.

The Connector Board will also establish procedures for the enrollment of eligible individuals, groups and commonwealth care health insurance program enrollees, and determine whether health insurers are offering uninsured residents plans that are affordable and of high quality.

"We congratulate Chip on this important appointment," said Richard Palmisano II, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northern Berkshire Healthcare in North Adams."NBH has had a long, productive relationship with Chip's agency. He is an excellent choice to help the state implement this needed program."

Joffe-Halpern, Executive Director of Ecu-Health Care, Inc. in North Adams, received a Master's Degree in Social Welfare from the State University of New York at Albany in 1977. He has served as the Executive Director of Ecu-Health Care, a model health care access program for the uninsured residents of North Berkshire, since 1995.

He also writes an opinion column focusing on health care issues for the North Adams Transcript.

Joffe-Halpern is President of the Board of Directors of Health Care For All, the lead consumer health care advocacy agency in New England, and he is also a member of the Medical Care Advisory Committee to the Commissioner of Medicaid in Massachusetts.

The United States Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has asked Joffe-Halpern to speak at numerous conferences about the outreach methods of Ecu-Health Care.

In 1999 Joffe-Halpern was a recipient of the Area Health Education Center's Achievement award for his work helping residents access health coverage in Berkshire County.

The National Association of Social Workers recognized Joffe-Halpern in 2003 as Social Worker of the Year for Berkshire County.
In making the appointment, Attorney General Reilly said Joffe-Halpern's "knowledge and experience, as well as the geographic perspective that he brings as a representative from Berkshire County, will be a tremendous asset."

Attorney General Reilly also appointed Louis Malzone, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition of Taft-Hartley Funds, a group of multi-employer health plans; and Celia Wcislo, assistant division director of SEIU Local 1199 United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare union on the East Coast.

Other members of the Board will include the secretary of administration and finance, the director of Medicaid, the commissioner of insurance, and the executive director of the Group Insurance Commission.

Governor Mitt Romney must appoint three other members, an actuary, a health economist, and a representative of small business.

The Board is expected to begin work shortly after the Governor makes his appointments.
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