HealthNet Plan

(Information as of December 16, 1999.)

This is a plan for people without insurance. In other words, you cannot take advantage of it if you are enrolled in an insurance plan. You may apply for HealthNet while your current insurance plan in nearing the end of its term, but they will wait until your term ends before processing your application.


According to representatives we phoned, college students may not apply for this plan if they are taking 9 or more credit hours or if their college otherwise views them as full-time. They may ask you for proof of your registered status.

Although representatives for the plan did say that the income limits for qualification are very similar to Free Care, they will no longer give out those amounts. If you do apply, they will now ask you for proof of income and compare your income against their internal guidelines.

International students may need to show their passports as proof of their status.

When applying to the HealthNet plan, they also encourage you to apply for MassHealth, although it is not mandatory. The criteria for qualifying for MassHealth are stricter than HealthNet, but MassHealth can cover more (routine dental, prescriptions at pharmacies other than the one at Boston Medical Center, etc.)

You must re-apply every year.


Healthcare under this program is only covered when provided at one of the more than 10 Boston-area facilities that are part of this program, which includes Boston Medical Center. The member facilities are listed on the web (go to, then chose the "HealthNet" icon). Some facilities do not provide certain services; however, since Boston Medical Center (BMC) is a full-fledged hospital, you are likely to be able to get most services you need at that location.


You chose a primary care physician that coordinates all your healthcare needs. If necessary, this physician will refer you to a specialist at one of the member facilities.

The following specialties, services, etc. are covered 100% (no co-payments, no deductibles) (This list is a combination of the specialties listed on their pamphlets and web page. The 2 separate lists aren't identical.):

They also cover:

Laboratories tests and radiology (x-ray) work.


Also, according to representatives we talked to on the phone, they would cover hospital stays and surgery (if recommended by your HealthNet doctors).


The plan covers $100 per prescription per month (i.e., you could have more than one prescription), but they must be filled at the Boston Medical Center Pharmacy.


Funding for HealthNet comes from Boston Medical Center.


You may apply by calling 1-800-792-4355. If you'd like additional information on the plan, you may call 1-800-462-6381. There is also a small amount of information about the plan on the web (go to, then chose the "HealthNet" icon).

You apply by filling out a short application. You should send proof (e.g., your registration) of the number of credit hours you are taking if you are a college student. Attach a letter explaining any additional information you send (like your proof of registration). Applications take 2-3 weeks to process.

To contact the Graduate Student Organization on healthcare issues, send mail to