Mainers will get a second chance at open enrollment for health care coverage

Maine health care advocates say people who missed the most recent open enrollment period through the Affordable Care Act will have another chance to sign up.

Mainers have until Jan. 16 to enroll starting in February, and most enrollees are expected to qualify for premium subsidies to lower their monthly payments.

Ann Woloson, director of Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, said the CoverME.gov website has helpful tools to help users compare plans.

“Some people get comprehensive coverage for as little as $10 a month,” Woloson said. “There are thousands of other people who are eligible for assistance and have deductibles that depend on their income.”

Woloson said people who had coverage last year can automatically be re-enrolled, but they should make sure that specialty or primary care providers and any prescription needs are still included in their plan.

The extended special enrollment period continues for people who are eligible for MaineCare — the state’s version of Medicaid.

The program has been in the process of “unwinding” since April, when coverage policies ended due to the pandemic.

Woloson said the process has been confusing for many MaineCare recipients, but he credits the state for working to make sure as many people as possible are covered.

“You can apply for MaineCare at any time,” Woloson said, “but if people have lost coverage because, for example, their income has increased, it would give them a special enrollment period to apply for Marketplace coverage.”

Woloson said that while the state’s marketplace website is navigator-friendly, questions often arise when choosing a health care plan.

He said Consumers for Affordable Healthcare offers enrollment assistance both in person and through its hotline at 1-800-965-7476.

Disclosure: Consumers for Affordable Healthcare contributes to our fund in reporting on budget policy and priorities and health issues. To support news in the public interest, click here.

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