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Mass. health insurance exchange enrollment hits record high

Enrollment in Massachusetts’ health insurance exchange has hit an all-time high.

In March, 201,178 state residents were enrolled in Commonwealth Care, the program created by Massachusetts’ pioneering 2006 health care reform law to provide subsidized coverage to the lower-income uninsured.

The March Commonwealth Care enrollment was 2,900 higher than February and nearly 28,000 higher compared with March 2012.

Enrollment surged since last May, when state officials amended eligibility requirements to comply with an earlier Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that struck down a 2009 law that had barred certain legal immigrants from the program.

Under the measure passed during the Great Recession to save the state money, legal immigrants who had lived in the United States for less than five years no longer were allowed to enroll in the state’s Commonwealth Care program.

Instead and as a result of the court ruling, about 25,000 legal immigrants were allowed to enroll in a new state program, Commonwealth Care Bridge, that offered less generous coverage and required higher premiums than the regular Commonwealth Care program.

Commwealth Care is available to uninsured state residents with incomes that are less than 300% of the federal poverty level.

The Commonwealth Care program has helped Massachusetts achieve the lowest uninsured rate — 3.4% in 2011 — of any U.S. state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The March enrollment figures were reported Thursday by the Massachusetts Health Connector, which administers Commonwealth Care and a second exchange, Commonwealth Choice, which offers unsubsidized coverage to individuals and employers with up to 50 employees.

"Mass. health insurance exchange enrollment hits record high" originally appeared on Crain's Business Insurance.

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