Please note this information was posted on April 15, 2020 and is subject to change if there is updated guidance.
Many Mainers are not just concerned about their economic health, but their own personal physical and mental health and well-being. Every single Mainer should have access to affordable, quality health care. The recent public health crisis only increased the urgency of that very real need.
We were able to act quickly when it came to COVID-19 relief legislation before we suspended our session. Through a rapid, decisive and bipartisan response, we passed laws that will help Mainers take care of themselves and their families and ensure they avoid spreading illness without the fear of losing a paycheck.
We invested in both public health nursing and the Maine CDC, while putting $11 million in a fund to respond to COVID-19. We made major shifts in health care delivery, by expanding access to both telehealth and physician assistants. Throughout all of this, our priority was making sure Mainers were taken care of during this crisis.
Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions regarding health care. Please share with others and ask your questions by commenting below or sending me a message at email@example.com.
How do I access a test?
Call ahead to a health care professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing. Tell your health care professional about any recent travel or contact with other COVID-19 cases. Your health care professional will work with Maine CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
It is important that you call ahead so your provider’s office can prepare for your visit and take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. If you do not have a primary health care provider, you can call community clinics or the Emergency Room. If you feel you have been unfairly denied a test, I suggest contacting another medical provider or Maine 211 by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
What is being done about individuals who have recently returned from high risk places but aren’t exhibiting symptoms?
Any individual entering Maine, regardless of possible exposure, is now mandated to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering Maine. People exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or coming from COVID-19 hot spots are asked not to come into Maine at all. Signs will be posted to this effect and law enforcement has the right to classify violations of this mandate as a crime punishable by up to six months in prison or up to a $1,000 fine.
Maine is a welcoming place, but we ask everyone to follow the best guidance from the CDC and that means staying in place.
I just lost my job and with it, my health insurance. What are my options?
This is such a difficult situation to be in. The first thing to be aware of is that you have 60 days from the day you lose your coverage to apply for a new policy.
The best place to start is at www.healthcare.gov, which may provide more affordable options than a COBRA plan offered from your employer. Depending on household size and household income, you and your family may qualify for subsidized private insurance or free or low-cost coverage through MaineCare. Completing a Marketplace application will provide individuals and family with the information about what type of coverage they qualify for.
Mainers can get help applying for coverage by contacting Consumers for Affordable Health Care at 800-965-7476. More information is available at www.mainecahc.org/covid-19-coronavirus/.
If I have coverage through MaineCare, can my coverage be impacted by existing income eligibility tests?
MaineCare provides low-cost and free health insurance to Mainers who meet certain requirements, usually based on household income. MaineCare covers doctor visits, emergencies, substance use disorder treatment, prescription drugs, and more.
MaineCare benefits will not be ended for the rest of April. We will let you know if this will continue for additional months if that decision is made. This means that if you have MaineCare your benefits cannot be cut off for the rest of this month. If you receive a notice from DHHS that your benefits are terminated (ended) during this time, please reach out to us for help.
All MaineCare verification on application and recertification will be self-declaration. This means DHHS will ask you to tell the truth about your income and personal information on your application and you won’t need to give them copies of your pay stubs or other proof. You will still be asked to provide proof of citizenship.
With so many moving pieces, it can be hard to keep up with the latest guidance. Please reach out if you or someone you know needs help. This crisis has underscored the dire need to make sure that every single person in this country has access to affordable health care, and that those with pre-existing conditions are protected.
I’ll keep providing these updates and doing all I can on your behalf. Thanks so much and be well.