Rosie D.
Reforming the Mental Health System in Massachusetts

Converting to CommonHealth 

The Commonwealth has developed and implemented an array of home and community-based behavioral health services for Medicaid-eligible youth under the age of 21.  These new services include Intensive Care Coordination, In-Home Therapy, In-Home Behavioral Services, Family Training and Support Services, Mobile Crisis Intervention, and Therapeutic Mentoring.  

Two MassHealth eligibility categories entitle members to receive all of these new services: Standard and CommonHealth.  MassHealth Standard is available to youth whose family’s monthly income before taxes and deductions is less than 150% of the federal poverty level.  For youth whose family’s income exceeds these limitations, CommonHealth may be available, if a behavioral health assessment or other evaluation shows that the youth has significant mental health needs, serious emotional disturbance, or another disabling condition. 

In order to apply for CommonHealth, the youth or their legal representative must complete MassHealth’s Medical Benefit Request form and indicate on Page 5 that the applicant has a disability.  In addition, the youth or their legal representative should complete the Disability Supplement and provide documentation of the disability.  Submitting all of this information at one time should reduce delays in the application process.  To submit the completed application more quickly, consider asking the youth’s doctor, clinician or outpatient provider if they can submit the CommonHealth application electronically using the Commonwealth’s Virtual Gateway system. 

Copies of the MassHealth Medical Benefit Request form and Disability Supplement can be found at or by calling the MassHealth Enrollment Center at 1-888-665-9993 (TTY: 1-888-665-9997).  The MassHealth Enrollment Center can also help applicants to fill out the forms. 

If you are seeking CommonHealth on behalf of a child with serious emotional disturbance and experience difficulties accessing needed coverage, please contact the Center for Public Representation at (617) 965-0776.  Information about the new MassHealth services referenced above can also be found at the Center’s website,

For tips on applying to CommonHealth, click here.

For additional guidance on applying for MassHealth benefits, including CommonHealth, please refer to the guide, 'Helping Families Access MassHealth Home- and Community-Based Behavioral Health Services for Children and Youths Under 21,' by clicking here.

Center for Public Representation

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