Governor Janet Mills and the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) announced today the award of a $750,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to improve health insurance coverage in Maine.
The grant will help to fund outreach and marketing, consumer education, and enrollment assistance in 2019 and 2020, through a unified campaign to encourage Mainers to sign up for expanded MaineCare (Medicaid) or affordable insurance through the HealthCare.gov marketplace. These new funds will supplement MeHAF’s continued support for Healthcare.gov outreach efforts.The grant will additionally fund research to better understand and serve the expansion population in Maine, and education for small businesses about the coverage options available to their employees.
“Ensuring that Maine people have access to high-quality, affordable health care is a top priority for my Administration, and through MaineCare expansion we have made significant progress, providing critical, even life-saving health insurance to more than 37,000 people across the state,” said Governor Mills. “But we can do more. This grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will support outreach out to more Maine people to help them better understand their health insurance options and sign up for the coverage they need to live healthy lives and contribute to the growth of our state.”
“More than 37,000 people across Maine now have insurance through the expansion of MaineCare, but we want to reach everyone who still struggles to afford preventive care, doctor’s visits, and medication,” said Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Maine Health Access Foundation, Maine will be better positioned to help consumers understand their options for MaineCare or private plan coverage.”
“Health insurance coverage is not the only piece in the puzzle to ensure access to care, but it is the critical first step,” said Barbara Leonard, President and CEO of MeHAF. “We’re pleased to partner with Maine DHHS with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to leverage philanthropic, state government, and nonprofit organization resources so that more people in Maine have coverage.”
Outreach and marketing efforts will gear up next month, highlighting both MaineCare expansion and the upcoming open enrollment period forHealthCare.gov plans, which runs Nov. 1, 2019 – Dec. 15, 2019. Through these efforts, consumers and small businesses will learn about different coverage options available in the state based on income and family size.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services collaborated with MeHAF to apply for the grant. Funds from the RWJF grant were distributed through MeHAF to organizations that will work directly with consumers to provide education and enrollment assistance. These organizations are Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, Maine Equal Justice, Western Maine Community Action,Maine Primary Care Association, Wabanaki Public Health, Maine Access Immigrant Network, City of Portland – Minority Health, and Maine Mobile Health Program.
According to recent Census data, 27.5 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2018. That included 106,000 people in Maine, or 8 percent of the state’s population, which is in line with the national average.
Mainers are eligible for insurance through MaineCare if their annual income is less than $17,236 for a single person or $29,435 for a family of three. Mainers with incomes above the MaineCare threshold but less than $49,960 for a single person or than $85,320 for a family of three may be eligible for lower monthly premiums on HealthCare.gov.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is dedicated to promoting health, safety, resilience, and opportunity for Maine people. The Department provides health and social services to approximately a third of the state's population, including children, families, older Mainers, and individuals with disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders.
The mission of the Maine Health Access Foundation is to promote access to quality health care, especially for those who are uninsured and underserved, and improve the health of everyone in Maine. MeHAF works with nonprofit partners and key leaders in the public and private sectors to advance initiatives and policies that particularly help those who face barriers accessing health care services and achieving optimal health.