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Dorchester, Massachusetts 02124
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  Caritas Carney Hospital’s Dedicated Phone Number, Staff and Signup Sessions Help Area Residents Enroll In State’s New Health Care Plan

Multilingual Patient Advocates Assisting Qualified Enrollees
In Choosing Plans and Primary Care Doctors

Caritas Carney Hospital’s patient advocates and financial coordinators are playing a major role in helping local area residents sign up for the state’s new Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Plan. The hospital’s dedicated phone line, community enrollment sessions and multilingual written materials are aimed at assisting qualified residents transition to health insurance coverage.

Now being implemented across Massachusetts, Commonwealth Care was created by the new health reform law passed last year by the Legislature. The program, which mandates health care coverage for adults age 19 or older, connects eligible residents with free or reduced-cost health insurance plans.

Caritas Carney Hospital has set up a special Carney Commonwealth Care phone number, 617-506-4554, to help qualified residents understand the plan’s guidelines, choose a managed care plan authorized to offer the insurance, and find a conveniently located primary care physician. Hospital staff are available to take calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Those who qualify for Commonwealth Care also may reach staff during the same times at Caritas Carney Hospital’s emergency department offices, 2100 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester.

Caritas Carney Hospital, which is hosting an Open House on Friday, January 12, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m., also will co-host other enrollment sessions with local multicultural centers at dates to be announced.

“Carney Hospital is ready to work with our area residents. We will have interpreters ready to meet residents in their community centers. We want to help make signing up for health insurance coverage as smooth as possible,” noted Caritas Carney Hospital President Daniel O’Leary, who added that information is available in Vietnamese, Haitian, Spanish and English.

The information includes a list of primary care physicians who have agreed to take part in the plan. All enrollees must select a primary care physician and health plan to receive benefits.

The new plan will offer qualified enrollees a full suite of coverage including hospitalizations, checkups with primary care physicians, emergency room visits, vision care, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse services, and dental coverage for people with incomes below the federal poverty level.

Residents in the region with general questions should call Caritas Carney’s Commonwealth Care number. The hospital can assist non-English speaking residents by offering interpreters who are fluent in several languages including Vietnamese, Haitian and Spanish. Hospital staff also can mail information to qualified residents when they call.

“The mission of the hospitals in the Caritas Christi Health Care system is consistent with the intentions of the new health care legislation,” noted Dr. O’Leary. “We believe everyone should have the right to basic health care needs. Our hospital is pleased to help people get enrolled in plans that will lead to a healthier, happier life.”

Caritas Carney Hospital has broadened its assistance services in conjunction with the second phase of the plan’s implementation, which began January 1. At that time, Commonwealth Care health insurance coverage was made available to people with income up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. Those qualifying are single individuals earning less than $29,000, or a family of four earning less than $60,000.

Massachusetts residents at or below the federal poverty level-- $9,805 as a single person or $20,000 for a family of four—were eligible to enroll beginning last October. People in this group are entitled to free coverage. Residents with income above the federal poverty level will pay different premiums depending on their exact income and choice of plan.

Massachusetts residents who don’t sign up for one of the plans by July 1 of this year will face penalties, including the loss of their personal state income tax deduction. Residents can also get more information from the Commonwealth Care Customer Service Center at 877-623-6765.

Caritas Carney Hospital is a community teaching hospital affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of Caritas Christi Health Care, the second largest health care system in New England.