Health Connector Open Enrollment Starts Sunday

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BOSTON — Open Enrollment through the Massachusetts Health Connector start on Nov. 1, which means people who are currently paying for COBRA coverage or are uninsured can start looking for new, affordable health insurance starting Sunday.


The Health Connector is the state-based health insurance exchange, offering commercial plans to people who do not get coverage through their employer or other sources. The Health Connector offers subsidized plans to those who are income-eligible through the ConnectorCare program, which offers lower premiums and co-pays, and no-deductibles to those enrolling in a plan.


"At this time, more than ever, people need access to quality, affordable health coverage they can use," Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector said. "If you don't have insurance, it is important to enroll in new coverage. If you are out of work and paying for COBRA coverage, you may very well find a significantly less-costly plan that meets your needs."


People who need health insurance can go to, complete an application, and immediately find out what kind of coverage for which they qualify. Applicants who qualify for ConnectorCare will see a list of qualifying plans that include important benefits, including for COVID testing and treatment.


ConnectorCare premiums are priced on an income-based scale for individuals making up to $38,280, or a family of four earning up to $78,600. Premiums for some people cost nothing, while lowest-cost plans at the highest income levels are $133 per month. For people who are current paying full premiums for COBRA plans, qualifying for ConnectorCare would represent significant savings. It is likely that for COBRA participants could also find lower-cost plans available without subsidy.


Open Enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 23, 2021. For people who need coverage for the start of the New Year, the deadline to apply, pick a plan, and pay the first month's premium is Dec. 23.


Many people need help applying for coverage or picking plan, and the Health Connector has 18 Navigator organizations available around the state, many with newly added capacity – including evening and weekend hours – to help those with questions. People who need help can find a local Navigator at Tens of thousands of Health Connector members applicants are staying covered or getting covered during Open Enrollment, and people are encouraged to reach out to a Navigator as soon as possible to get the support needed to get 2021 coverage, before Navigators are fully scheduled around the Dec. 23 deadline.


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State Announces Final Order on Eversource Gas Rates

BOSTON — The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has issued a final Order in a rate case for NSTAR Gas Company, doing business as Eversource Energy, that will lead to investments in clean energy technologies, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and improvements in infrastructure safety and service reliability, while significantly reducing the total rate increase request of Eversource. 
The action by the DPU follows a year-long investigation that included four public hearings across Eversource Energy's service territory, 12 days of virtual evidentiary hearings, and a review of approximately 1,800 exhibits. The Order applies only to customers who are provided gas service in NSTAR's territory in 51 towns in Eastern and Central Massachusetts and does not impact customers in the former Columbia Gas of Massachusetts gas service territory.
The DPU's Order reduced Eversource's base revenue request by approximately $12.2 million – decreasing Eversource's original requested increase of $34,970,916 by 35 percent. Today's decision marks the first time that Eversource's gas base distribution rates have changed since 2016.
"Today's Order will ensure Massachusetts continues to lead the way by investing and providing affordable, clean, and reliable energy solutions to ratepayers," DPU Chairman Matthew Nelson said. "Building on the Department's investigation into the future of natural gas in the Commonwealth's energy portfolio, the Order will also result in new clean energy options for residents to help Massachusetts achieve its aggressive emissions reduction goals."
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