Sign up for health insurance now

Many folks unfortunately have had their lives turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. Some

Many folks unfortunately have had their lives turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. Some have lost jobs, and their health insurance that came with them. Others may be realizing access to health care is crucial to keeping their loved ones safe and healthy. If you are currently without health insurance, now is the time to sign up to get health care coverage for 2021.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace is open for enrollment until Tuesday, Dec. 15. It is available to everyone, and you may qualify for reduced monthly premiums and co-payments or for free or low-cost coverage through MaineCare, based on your income and size of your household. To enroll, you need to create an account on Healthcare.gov and fill out an application.

Of course, choosing a health care plan is a personal and an individualized decision for everyone. It can feel complicated and daunting to suddenly have to choose which type of coverage you want for your family and determine what you can actually afford. Fortunately, you are not alone, and there are several resources that can help inform you to make the best choice for you and your family.

Healthcare.gov has a lot of information to digest and learn about which plan is best for your family and estimate how much you would be paying. They have a guide that should answer a lot of your basic questions. You can access it at www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide.

Another useful resource to take advantage of is Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care (CAHC). CAHC is a nonprofit whose purpose is to make sure Mainers are able to navigate the health care system and get the affordable health care they deserve. They have a guide to Maine health care insurance: www.mainecahc.org/guide-to-maine-health-care/ and a frequently asked questions page: www.maine.cahc.org/about-us/frequently-asked-questions/. For those who prefer calling or can’t find their answer online, CAHC has a free, confidential hotline at 1-800-965-7476. They also hold free virtual trainings on “Understanding Your Health Insurance Options,” which could be a great place to start. The two next sessions are 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 and 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8. You can sign up for either of those at www.mainecahc.org/events-2/understanding-your-health-insurance-options-2020/. CAHC is there to help you choose the best health care coverage for you. They also host www.enroll207.com, which provides a great overview of all their available resources.

I know how important health insurance was for my patients. It is a safeguard against costly medical emergencies when folks end up in the hospital unexpectedly. It helps health care providers focus on preventative care so that problems can be caught early and minimized for their patients, which ultimately would reduce the cost of health care in general. Ultimately, I encourage folks to sign up for health care insurance. You may be eligible for significant reductions in costs, and it is important to take our health seriously now more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If I can be of any help with directing you to the right resources for your health care plan questions, please contact me at [email protected] or call my office at (207) 287-1515. Remember, the enrollment deadline to sign up for insurance through the ACA is Dec. 15!

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