Five Questions About Health Insurance in Massachusetts

health insurance

The Open Enrollment Period for health insurance coverage starting in 2016 is November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. Here are a list of five questions you may have about health insurance enrollment in Massachusetts. Visit or email us at if you have more questions about enrolling in health insurance!

Q: How much does MassHealth cost?

A: The cost of your health insurance is based on your income. Please refer to the current MassHealth Income Standards and Federal Poverty Guidelines

Q: I did not receive a mail reminder about health insurance renewal. When should I renew my health insurance benefits?                  

A: You should renew every year. Contact a financial counselor for more details.*

Q: I have health insurance through my job but I only need dental insurance. What should I do?

A: Please visit . You can review the dental plans available through the market place. Once you have made your decision as to which one would fit your needs, either call the Health Connector directly, or you can schedule an appointment with a financial counselor.*

Q: I don’t have a social security number; can I apply for health insurance?

A: You will most likely be eligible for Health Safety Net (free care).

Q: I am an undocumented citizen and I am pregnant; can I apply for health insurance?

A: Yes, please contact our financial counselor for more details.*


*Contact a Financial Counselor by emailing








Fall Photos From Harbor Health

Op-Ed: A Rising Tide Lifts Mixed Messages

The role of cultural attitudes as a hindrance to soberly addressing mental health issues, much less resolving them, has been often mentioned in this space.  On  the deepest personal level,  too many suffer needlessly due to the stigma of having to struggle with things like everyday depression and anxiety, not to mention those other problems that can become debilitating, at their worst.

People often find little support from those around them, and when they find the courage to finally seek help – or when desperation or other factors force them to take action – help can be difficult to find, or once found , the wait for that first appointment can be a long time.  On a broader level, access to affordable mental health care has not been much of a government priority, reflecting the culture as a whole.  Any positive change in this picture would be welcome, one would think, but one can only welcome a recent current for positive change with mixed emotions, as it has only surfaced in the context of gun violence.  America is well aware – and accepts, as a culture – all the horrific consequences of easy gun access.

We are a standout among all the countries of the world on that one, along with incarceration rates.  Sandy Hook, three years ago, changed the conversation a bit, due to the extraordinary level of tragedy, and what we got was a consequent call for better policing, education, training, gun laws – and mental health services.   Shooters are mentally ill in some way, obviously – or so the reasoning goes – so detecting this, and treating it before it’s too late makes sense, right?  A couple of bills were introduced at the time on Capitol Hill, proposing removal of insurance barriers, funding more psychiatric research, and establishing an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health, among other things.  A chance for real movement on this issue!  Except for the fact that the gun interests that seem to determine outcomes (this is America, after all) have dictated that none of the agenda ever got realized through legislation.   Following the consequent gun tragedies in South Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia, Oregon, Arizona, and Texas – yes, those all have happened since Sandy Hook – the two Republican-introduced bills (think about that) are finally getting a hearing.  Does this mean mental health is finally having its day in Congress?   The talk is about schizophrenia and bipolar illness, while the mental health reality is that these represent a tiny part of what constitutes mental health in this country.  Does a rising tide lift all boats?  Or is mental health only getting further stigmatized by this government-sponsored association with extraordinary behaviors?  Is this focus on mental health a ploy by the politicians, where taking action on mental health substitutes for putting restrictions on firearms, which they continue to resist?  We are living in complicated times, indeed.


John Dabrowski  LICSW

Neponset Health Center and Geiger Gibson Community Health Center


50th anniversary of the Health Center Movement

Joint Statement

Delta Health Center and Harbor Health Services, Inc. (Geiger Gibson Community Health Center)

This year, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of the nation’s community health center movement. At a civil rights meeting in Greenville, MS on December 11, 1964, Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, two young physicians from the Harbor School of Public Health and Tufts Medical School respectively, proposed a new model for providing comprehensive primary care in underserved areas, the neighborhood health center.   In January 1965, Drs. Geiger and Gibson approached the Office of Economic Opportunity with a proposal for two such neighborhood health centers, an urban health center in the Columbia Point section of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, and a rural health center in the town of Mound Bayou serving rural Bolivar County in Mississippi’s delta region.

On December 11, 1965, the urban model, Columbia Point Health Center (now known as the Geiger Gibson Community Health Center) opened in the Columbia Point housing project and began seeing patients. Following the opening, the rural model, Delta Health Center, opened in Mound Bayou after overcoming numerous political obstacles.

The nation has gone on to see a great expansion of both urban and rural centers, and the Community Health Center movement is now the nation’s largest network of primary care providers. There are over 1,270 community health centers serving 23 million people at 9,000 practice sites.

Geiger Gibson Community Health Center and Delta Health Center are proud to be the forerunners of this national movement of community centered comprehensive health care services, available to all regardless of ability to pay.

Smart Health: Apple’s AirStrip

Property of Apple

Photo via iTunes

AirStrip, a patient monitoring app for the Apple Watch, was showcased at the Apple Event on September 9th, 2015. According to its iTunes description, “AirStrip is intended for use by clinicians who care for patients. In order to use AirStrip, your healthcare facility must have purchased and installed AirStrip.”

Right now, the Apple Watch costs upwards of $350 but as technology advances, wearable tech will become affordable and more popular. This begs the question-would you be comfortable having your health information accessible to your doctor via his or her watch?

Did You Know…? Harbor Health services, Inc. offers a FREE smartphone app for iPhone and Android devices! Search “Harbor Health” or go to iTunes or the Google Play Store.