Network Health

(Information as of December 4, 1998.)

Network Health is a free healthcare program associated with the Cambridge Hospital and Somerville Hospital. It is designed for people who do not have health insurance, or have only partial coverage. People might choose Network Health versus other programs because of the convenience to those living in Cambridge/Somerville, because it can provide more coverage than most programs for those that do not strictly meet the income qualifications, and because it provides some dental services.

Network Health covers people under the state-run assistance program known as Free Care.


Network Health is intended for people without insurance, but is free for everyone who completes an application and meets the income requirements.

Here, we describe how the plan differs from Free Care.

See a general description of Free Care, including how to qualify, before proceeding.

Full Coverage
For those that meet the Full Free Care guidelines under the Network Health Plan, the plan is called "Network Health Plan A".

Partial Coverage
For those that qualify under the Partial Free Care income guidelines, Network Health coverage takes care of a certain percentage of the cost of services depending on the applicant's exact household income; the percentage is determined by a Network Health counselor and can meet as much as 95% of costs.

Network Health A covers most prescriptions, but only when they are filled at Cambridge Hospital pharmacy.

Network Health provides for the following dental services:

Approved applicants receive membership for a 6-month period, which may be extended for another 6 months upon filing an extension form. After one year, a new application must be filed.

College students are eligible; no restrictions on full- or part-time status are indicated.


Network Health pays the bills for most medical and mental health/addiction services provided through the Network Health provider, hospital and community agency system.


Services are largely provided at the offices of Participating Providers throughout Cambridge and Somerville at 16 locations. In total, there are 60 primary care providers. Network Health provides lists and a map of locations so that applicants may choose the most convenient and appropriate location.

Services are also rendered at Cambridge Hospital and Somerville Hospital.


Covered services include, but are not limited to, outpatient, day surgery, inpatient, and emergency services.

Network Health A does not provide for things like:

If a patient is out of the area and requires emergency care, that care is not covered.

Interpreter services are available. Patients needing these services should ask staff to call an interpreter; interpreter services can be reached directly at 617-498-1550. In addition, a number of the individual providers are conversant in languages other than English, including: French, French Creole, German, Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish. Many of the Network Health enrollment counselors are also conversant in a variety of languages.

The specialties outlined for the Participating Providers are as follows:


Network Health A will cover hospitalization authorized by the provider at Cambridge Hospital or Somerville Hospital.


Network Health is sponsored by the Cambridge Health Alliance (a composite organization of Cambridge and Somerville Hospitals). It is also a Harvard Medical School Affiliate and was the recipient of the 1993 Foster M. McGaw Prize.


Interested parties can request applications and information from Member Services at Network Health: 1-888-257-1985.

In order to apply, you'll need (for both the 100% coverage or the partial coverage plan):

Additional Information

For more information, see the Cambridge Health Alliance web site (

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