Power of Culture Blog
Physically distancing ourselves from one another does not necessarily mean losing social connections. Rather, it gives us all an opportunity to think creatively about what we can do and how we can connect in different ways.
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This month the Mass Cultural Council teamed up with our Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee chairs in the state Legislature, Senator Edward J. Kennedy (D- Lowell) and Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) to spread the word about our new partnership with the Massachusetts Health Connector, the ConnectorCare Card to Culture Program.
Through a series of press releases and social media posts, Massachusetts residents seeking access to affordable, high-quality health insurance were reminded to consider plans available from the Massachusetts Health Connector; Open Enrollment runs through January 23, 2020. Together, we were excited to convey that on January 1 all ConnectorCare card holders will enjoy a new benefit: free or reduced admission prices to more than 100 cultural sites statewide.
ConnectorCare Card to Culture links the Massachusetts’ health and cultural sectors at a systemic level. By providing ConnectorCare members – including working families, young professionals, and new immigrants in Massachusetts – access to cultural institutions at a free or reduced price, it is expected their participation in the arts and culture will increase. This new engagement – the first of its kind in the nation – will provide health benefits such as increased physical activity and reduced feelings of stress and isolation. The program is an opportunity to redefine the value of a culturally engaged life by encouraging social and cultural interactions that ultimately promote public health.
“We are excited to be partnering with the Health Connector to help assure that everybody in Massachusetts has health insurance and that everyone can enjoy the health benefits of cultural participation,” said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director. “We know that people who participate in the arts and culture are 60% healthier than those who don’t. This groundbreaking partnership will open doors to cultural experiences that not only entertain and inspire, but are also a protective factor for health and well-being.”
“The Health Connector believes that having access to affordable coverage means residents can live healthier, happier lives, and having access to the great cultural institutions in Massachusetts is part of that happier, healthier lifestyle,” said Louis Gutierrez, Massachusetts Health Connector Executive Director. “The ConnectorCare Card to Culture program is a great way to open doors to our members so they can fully experience our state’s vibrant arts and culture institutions. This partnership with the Mass Cultural Council is the first its kind for a state-based health insurance exchange, and we are pleased to again be national leaders in innovation for health and well-being.”
“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has long been a national leader in both the health care and arts/culture sectors, and I cannot think of a better way to combine the two,” said Sen. Kennedy, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development. “Providing access to arts and cultural institutions and experiences to a broader audience who otherwise may not have the opportunity to participate will improve the quality of life and the health of those audiences, as well as bolster the state’s vibrant arts and culture scene. I applaud this innovative program and hope to see it continue for many years to come.”
“I applaud the partnership of the Mass Cultural Council and the Health Connector to bring this first in the nation visionary approach in the overall health and well-being of the residents of the Commonwealth.” said Rep. Paul McMurtry, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development. “The arts can have a transformational impact on people.”
To date, more than 100 arts and cultural sites statewide have joined the ConnectorCare Card to Culture program.
The Health Connector’s ConnectorCare program provides affordable health coverage to lower-income Massachusetts residents. Commercial plans are subsidized to help pay for premium costs and include low co-pays and no deductible costs to members. If you need health insurance, you can start an application at MAhealthconnector.org.
ConnectorCare Card to Culture is part of Mass Cultural Council’s new CultureRx Initiative, and builds upon the success of the EBT Card to Culture Program, a partnership with the Department of Transitional Assistance that provides EBT benefit card holders free or reduced admission to more than 240 arts and cultural sites statewide. In two years, the EBT card has been used to access admission to 370,000 cultural experiences.