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MaineCare gives health coverage to people with low income

MaineCare's income eligibility limits are different for different types of households. Families with minor children have one of the highest eligibility limits. For example, if you have a family of three with a minor child, you can get MaineCare if your income, after some deductions, is below about $35,200 per year. If you have four family members, including a child, the limit is about $42,400. People over 65, people with disabilities, and other adults without children may also get MaineCare, although at lower income levels. Other smaller groups, such as women with breast cancer, people with HIV or AIDS, and pregnant women can get MaineCare, too.

For more information go to a two page summary of MaineCare called, Maine's Medical Assistance Programs: Who’s Covered and Who’s Not provided by Maine Equal Justice Partners where you can also find a very detailed guide to MaineCare. An easy to read Guide to Health Care in Maine is provided by Consumers for Affordable Health Care Foundation who also has a Health Care Helpline at 1-800-965-7476. You can also print out the MaineCare application and send it in. (After you file this short form with your local DHHS office, you should get a phone call from them to help you complete the application process. The form allows you to apply for other assistance as well.) [NOTE:If your income has recently changed – for example, if you just lost wages or lost your job – then attach a note to the application saying your income has gone down. DHHS will ask for income information for the last four weeks, but will look at your income 30 days forward if it has changed.]

Federally Qualified Health Centers

These health centers provide primary care for all who walk in the door, rich or poor, insured or uninsured. They provide care for the uninsured on a sliding scale. These Health Centers operate throughout Maine. To find one in your area, call 207-621-0677.

Health Care for Veterans

If you served in the military, you are almost certainly eligible for Health Services through the Veterans Administration -- even if you do not have a service-connected health problem. Standard benefits include prescription drugs, preventative care, outpatient services, inpatient services, long term care, mental health and substance abuse treatment and other services. Every CareerCenter has a Veterans’ Representative who would be happy to point you in the right direction. You can also find out more at the VA Health Administration Center’s website.

Free Hospital Care

Maine hospitals provide free hospital care to people with low income. Many hospitals also have programs to help with doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, and other services. Call your local hospital to find out if they have a program and whether you would be eligible. To find a hospital near you, go to the Maine Hospital Association’s website.

Prescription Drug Help

The Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled program (often called “ DEL”) is for people who are disabled or elderly (62 and over) and who are over the income limit for MaineCare. DEL pays 80% of the cost of prescription drugs for many common illnesses. If you are not eligible for DEL, you still may qualify for Maine Rx Plus. This program provides, on average, 60% off on generic drugs and 15% off on brand named drugs. Both programs also help to fill in the gaps left by Medicare Part D coverage. For the eligibility guidelines, an application and a brochure, click on the Maine RX Plus site from DHHS or call them at 1-800-423-4331. Drug manufacturers also provide free prescriptions to those in need. For more information, a directory of these programs is provided at https://www.pparx.org.

COBRA

COBRA is a Federal Law that allows you to continue to purchase health insurance under your employer's group health insurance for up to 18 months after you were laid-off from your job (unless you were terminated for "gross misconduct"). It only applies to employers of 20 or more employees and you do have to pay the full cost for yourself and your dependents.  If you qualify for the Trade Adjustment Act you may be eligible for a subsidy toward the cost of COBRA.

Maine also has a “mini-COBRA” law for smaller employers.  If you have an injury or illness that makes you eligible for workers compensation or if you have been temporarily laid off from an employer with fewer than 20 employees, you may be able to continue your coverage for up to 12 months.