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Massachusetts' Commonwealth Care enrollment steady in 2011


BOSTON—Enrollment in the Massachusetts program that subsidizes health care premiums for lower-income uninsured state residents held nearly steady in 2011.

During 2011, enrollment in Commonwealth Care stayed within a range of 155,500 to 160,800 enrollees, according to statistics maintained by the Connector Authority, which administers the program.

The highest monthly 2011 enrollment was in January when 160,800 people were covered, while the lowest monthly enrollment was in March with 155,500 people covered in Commonwealth Care.

As of Dec. 1, 158,800 people were enrolled. The highest monthly enrollment was set in July 2009—during the Great Recession—when 181,300 people were enrolled.

The program—a lynchpin of the 2006 law that was intended to move Massachusetts close to universal coverage—is available to uninsured state residents with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level.

Of the nearly 159,000 enrollees, about 71,000 pay a portion of the premium of the health care plan in which they are enrolled, with the state paying the full premium for the remainder.

The program is expected to grow substantially in the wake of a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that struck down a 2009 law that barred from Commonwealth Care lower-income legal immigrants who had lived in the United States for less than five years.

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