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Massachusetts funds health insurance program for immigrants Posted: January 3rd, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

After immigrants were cut from Massachusetts Commonwealth Care health insurance amid budget cuts last year, state legislators agreed to provide $40 million in funding for a more limited health plan. The money was expected to run out by the end of December, but Governor Deval Patrick now says dollars exist to extend the program another month.

 

The extra month gives Governor Patrick and other supporters of the Commonwealth Care Bridge Program time to drum up support for additional funding. The program is a scaled back version of health insurance coverage provided by the state for income-eligible families. Immigrant coverage features higher co-payment amounts and excludes dental, vision, hospice and skilled nursing care, according to The Boston Globe.

 

Only immigrants known as "aliens with special status" are eligible for the Massachusetts health insurance coverage. These individuals are legal immigrants who have green cards and have been in the country for less than five years.

 

Currently, the federal government does not reimburse states for health care for these immigrants. However, that will change in 2014 when health reform provisions will provide federal funding to states for immigrant health insurance programs.