BCBSMA Foundation Launches Grant Program to Support Health Coverage Enrollment Efforts
10 Community-Based Organizations Receive Total of $600,000 in Funding
to Expand Certified Application Counselor Capacity Across Massachusetts
BOSTON (Nov. 6, 2023) – The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, a nonprofit grantmaking and research organization, today announced the launch of a new grant program, Supporting Health Coverage Enrollment Efforts, that will support organizations statewide that help eligible people secure and maintain MassHealth (Medicaid) or other insurance coverage. The Foundation awarded a total of $600,000 to 10 community-based organizations located across the state.
The two-year grant program arrives at a time when the health coverage enrollment environment has been strained by the unwinding of the pandemic-era continuous coverage requirement and subsequent MassHealth redetermination process. The funding will primarily help expand Certified Application Counselor, or CAC, capacity in the Commonwealth. CACs are trained individuals who help consumers as they look for health coverage options, including completing their eligibility and enrollment forms.
“We created this program to provide substantial and timely resources to the enrollment assistance system, enabling organizations with strong ties to their communities to strengthen their capacity to serve as a source of reliable support for health insurance enrollment,” said Audrey Shelto, President and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.
The grant program prioritizes community-based organizations that primarily serve people who have been socially, economically, culturally or racially marginalized and areas of the state that are in need of stronger enrollment support. The following organizations each received $60,000 in an initial year of funding:
- Agencia ALPHA, an immigrant-led, grassroots organization in Boston, which plans to add CACs to its team and expand its member outreach around MassHealth redeterminations and enrollment in health coverage.
- Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell, a nonprofit serving the Cambodian and other minority communities in the Lowell region, which will expand its existing CAC capacity and provide enrollment assistance services in additional languages.
- Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands, a nonprofit that provides a variety of services to low-income residents, which plans to increase its presence in Falmouth, Hyannis, Sandwich and Nantucket.
- Developmental Evaluation and Adjustment Facilities (DEAF Inc.), a Watertown-based nonprofit that supports the underserved deaf community, which will become the first organization in the state to provide CAC services fully in American Sign Language (ASL).
- Ecu-Health Care, a nonprofit based in North Adams, which will provide extensive outreach, education and application enrollment assistance to uninsured and underinsured individuals across Northern Berkshire County.
- Enhance Asian Community on Health (EACH), a community-based organization, which will reach the Asian community in key geographic areas, including Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood and Malden, Newton, Quincy and Somerville.
- Hilltown Community Health Centers, located in Western Massachusetts, which will reach some of the most rural areas of the Commonwealth and will focus on unhoused individuals, immigrant populations, senior citizens and families needing assistance.
- Insurance Resource Center for Autism and Behavioral Health, a program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, which will expand CAC capacity in Vietnamese to meet the linguistic needs of their community.
- Massachusetts Senior Action Council, a statewide grassroots organization based in Quincy, which will fully integrate its recently added CAC services in order to support people over 65 with health coverage applications over the long term.
- True Alliance Center, an immigrant-led grassroots organization, which will further embed enrollment services in the rapidly growing Haitian community in Greater Boston.
About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation
The mission of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is to ensure equitable access to health care for all those in the Commonwealth who are economically, racially, culturally or socially marginalized. The Foundation was established in 2001 with an initial endowment from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. It operates separately from the company and is governed by its own Board of Directors. For more information, visit www.bluecrossmafoundation.org.