CommonHealth and You

By Attorney Erin L. Nunes, Esq., Partner

If you are a disabled adult, you may benefit from a MassHealth program known as CommonHealth. CommonHealth offers benefits similar to MassHealth Standard, but without the $2,000 countable asset limit imposed by the MassHealth Standard program.

To qualify for the CommonHealth program, you must:

  • be resident of Massachusetts, and either
  • be a disabled adult who works 40 hours or more a month, or
  • be currently working and have worked at least 240 hours in the 6 months immediately before the month of the application.

MassHealth uses the standards set by federal and state law to determine if meet the “disabled” requirement. Generally, this means that you have a mental or physical condition that severely limits your ability to work or to do certain activities for at least 12 months.

CommonHealth and Your Income:

If your household income is above 150% of the Federal Poverty Limit, which is $22,590 for a single person in 2024, you will have to pay monthly premiums.  The amount of the premium is based on

  • your monthly income, as it compares to the Federal Poverty Limit,
  • your household size, and
  • whether you have other health insurance.

CommonHealth and Your Assets:

Under the CommonHealth program, you are not required to spend down your assets to the general $2,000 countable asset limit imposed by MassHealth Standard and other needs-based benefit programs. You can retain ownership and control of all your resources and still qualify for the CommonHealth program. However, if you are a disabled adult and on the CommonHealth program, it is important to consult with a qualified elder law attorney to discuss estate planning that can keep your assets outside of probate when you pass and shield those assets from MassHealth’s estate recovery program. The estate recovery program is how MassHealth claims for reimbursement from your probate estate for care it has provided for you.

What does the CommonHealth program pay for?

The CommonHealth program includes coverage for such services as:

  • inpatient hospital services, with certain restrictions,
  • outpatient services, including hospitals, clinics, doctors dentists, family planning, and vision care,
  • medical services, including lab tests, X-rays, eyeglasses, hearing aids, medical equipment and supplies, and adult day health,
  • behavioral health (mental health and addiction) services,
  • long-term-care services at home or in a long-term-care facility, including home health services, and
  • Transportation services, with certain restrictions

©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street, Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375.  This article is for illustration purposes only.  This article does not constitute legal advice.  There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article.  DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this article.  Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney.  Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems