Health Safety Net Fund
What is the Health Safety Net (Free Care)?
The Health Safety Net is a program for Massachusetts residents who are not eligible for health insurance, have limited insurance, or can't afford to buy health insurance. The Health Safety Net replaced the Uncompensated Care Pool (also called Free Care) on October 1, 2007. The goal of the Safety Net is to make sure that all Massachusetts residents can get health care when they need it, regardless of income.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible for the Health Safety Net (Free Care), you must be uninsured or underinsured, with no access to affordable health coverage. Most people must meet income limits, but people of any income with large medical bills that they cannot pay are also eligible. Your citizenship or immigration status does not affect your eligibility. You must be a resident of Massachusetts.
What benefits will I get?
For low income Worcester residents, the Health Safety Net (Free Care) pays for medically necessary services at the Family Health Center or Great Brook Valley Health Center, and local hospitals. The Safety Net pays all of the cost, or part of the cost, depending on age and income. See Cost-sharing requirements. The Safety Net also helps families with medical hardships who do not have enough income to pay their medical bills.
How do I apply?
Most people must file a MassHealth application to get Health Safety Net (Free Care) benefits. Worcester residents can file an application at the Family Health Center (508-860-7700) or the Great Brook Valley Health Center (508-852-1805) in Worcester. For addresses and hours, see Worcester Benefit Office Locations - Community Health Centers. You can also send your application directly to MassHealth.
If you are applying for Medical Hardship, you must file a Medical Hardship application at a community health center or hospital. You can call the Help Desk at 1-877-910-2100 for more information. After you apply, you will get a written notice within 45 days letting you know if you are eligible.
How do I use my benefits?
You will usually be approved for the Health Safety Net (Free Care) for one year. In most cases, Worcester residents must go to the Family Health Center or Great Brook Valley Health Center for non-urgent health care. You must report any changes that might affect your eligibility. Medical Hardship patients must pay the required contribution amount shown in the approval notice before the Safety Net will pay the rest.
More information about the Health Safety Net is on our statewide web site, MassResources.org. When you click on the link below, you will go to MassResources.org. Click "Back" on your browser to return to WorcesterResources.org.