Easy Enrollment: Ensuring Every Mainer has Affordable Healthcare
Updated: Apr 13
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more important for Mainers to have access to affordable healthcare. Yet costs continue to skyrocket, and it is even harder to receive care than it was before. It’s believed that about 5.1 percent of Mainers lack health insurance right now.
That’s why Rep. Dr. Richard Evans of Dover-Foxcroft introduced LD 1390, “An Act To Maximize Health Care Coverage for the Uninsured through Easy Enrollment in the MaineCare Program or in a Qualified Health Plan in the Marketplace.” If enacted, the bill would help the state identify individuals and families that do not have health insurance, but who may be eligible for MaineCare or a health plan in the Maine Health Insurance Marketplace, by asking tax filers about their health insurance status on state income tax forms. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Health Insurance Marketplace (CoverME), respectively, would then contact uninsured individuals and families and help them to enroll in an affordable health insurance program.
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Dr. Evans explained why an early enrollment program is a critical tool in the pursuit of affordable healthcare in his testimony to the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee:
“Too often, individuals and families find that trying to navigate the system by themselves becomes overwhelming and perplexing. They simply give up, postponing necessary preventive care because they cannot access the system or get the help that they so desperately need. Others do not have a computer and many more do not have broadband access. Still others simply cannot afford the associated costs of health care, and their primary source of care becomes the emergency room. This should not have to happen, but for many it is their only recourse. The health care ‘churn’ is not only burdensome, but it is also disruptive to patient care continuity and can lead to poorer health outcomes.”
“The whole purpose behind LD 1390 is that rather than having the patient jump through hoops, to have the state be proactive,” Dr. Evans added in an interview with Mainers for Working Families.
The Maine House and Senate passed LD 1390, which is now sitting on the appropriations table awaiting funding. The bill must receive funding from the Appropriations Committee this session in order to become law.
We applaud Rep. Evans for his work to expand healthcare options for all Mainers, and we hope LD 1390 will make its way to Governor Mills’ desk in the very near future.