November 9, 2023
Today, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released updated data on the resumption of MaineCare (Medicaid) eligibility reviews after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, known as “unwinding.” This update is available on the MaineCare Renewals Data Dashboard and is based on more current data than reflected in previous months’ updates.
This update of the dashboard covers the first five months of redeterminations, offering a snapshot in time of the redetermination process from May through October, 2023. Over this five-month period, the Department’s efforts have resulted in over 138,000 MaineCare members being successfully renewed and retaining their MaineCare coverage, including over 41,000 who were renewed through the ex parte, or passive, renewal process. DHHS continues to suspend disenrolling members for the “procedural” reason of not returning their renewal form to prevent individuals and families from losing coverage unnecessarily as improvements are made to our ex parte eligibility system.
For the first time, the Department is also reporting unwinding transition data from CoverME.gov, Maine’s official Health Insurance Marketplace. The Department launched a Special Enrollment Period through CoverME.gov in April to help Maine people transitioning from MaineCare coverage explore affordable health insurance options and avoid gaps in coverage. The Special Enrollment Period will continue through July 31, 2024, allowing Maine individuals found no longer eligible for MaineCare to apply for plans through CoverME.gov outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period.
During the five-month period of this update, 10,981 people were determined ineligible for MaineCare and had their accounts transferred to the Marketplace. Of those, 1,362 people have selected Marketplace plans on CoverME.gov through the Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Other people in that population have likely transitioned to employer-sponsored insurance or may have aged into the federally run Medicare program. To help ensure Maine people maintain coverage, the Department has engaged in a cross-cutting outreach campaign via mail, phone, text, multi-media marketing, and partnerships with community-based organizations to reach people where they are.
The Department is making every effort to reach people who are no longer eligible for MaineCare to ensure they are able to transition to coverage on CoverME.gov if they don’t have another source of affordable health insurance. CoverME.gov has sent a 3-touch series of mailers to over 10,000 people who are no longer eligible for MaineCare coverage, and made over 6,300 outbound calls to ensure they know about Marketplace plans and the financial assistance available to help pay for premiums.
In addition to the opportunity available through the Special Enrollment Period, now is the time of year when enrollment in 2024 Marketplace plans is available to any Maine resident, many of whom are eligible for reduced-cost coverage. Open Enrollment for CoverME.gov runs from November 1, 2023 through January 16, 2024. CoverME.gov is the only place where Maine residents can shop for plans that meet Affordable Care Act quality coverage standards and find financial savings to help pay monthly premiums. As many as 4 out of 5 Mainers qualify for savings and some may pay less than $10 a month.
MaineCare members who have not yet gone through the eligibility review process should take two important steps to stay covered:
- Update their current contact information with MaineCare, including address, email and phone number. Members can call 1-855-797-4357 and press option 1 to update contact information through an automated system or visit MyMaineConnection.gov. Stay Connected to Stay Covered!
- Be on the lookout for an envelope with a blue block on it, which contains the MaineCare renewal notice: If it’s blue, it’s time to renew! Members who signed up for e-noticing on My Maine Connection will receive their notice electronically and will not receive the envelope. Whether a member receives their renewal form by mail or e-notice, they will need to complete and return it by the deadline. Members who are determined to be eligible through the passive renewal process will receive a notice that their coverage has been renewed for 12 months and will not be required to fill out a renewal form.
MaineCare is unlike other health insurance in that anyone who needs it can apply at any time, without waiting for an open enrollment period or qualifying life event.