Mainers live here for good reasons. Glorious summers with warm breezes and cool enough nights for a camp fire, even in July. Autumn colors that dazzle the eye. Winter’s white fields and mountains, and the reliable crunch under foot. Acadia National Park in the winter is braved only to the hardy who reside here, and you really haven’t lived until you’ve watched the snow fall on the Atlantic.
Mainers are tenacious, independent, resilient folk. But even Mainers need help on occasion. We might need help shoveling our driveway after a snowstorm or cutting fallen tree limbs after the recent windstorm.
And because we work hard, we also may need help with our bodies: the back strain from shoveling, the sliced hand from sharpening a chainsaw, or the unexpected diagnosis of a disease or condition no one asks for or deserves. We may get a cold or the flu during Maine’s long winters. Or even a bad sunburn on the first warm day, forgetting what our mothers told us about wearing sunscreen.
Those are the times in which we’ll want help from a medical provider. And the best, most affordable way to pay for that medical help is with health insurance.
Unfortunately, Maine has the highest uninsured rate in New England. If you are one of the nearly 106,000 Mainers without health coverage, it isn’t too late. You have until Dec. 15 to sign up for affordable, reliable health insurance.
The government is still paying subsidies that keep premiums low. For example, a family of four making up to $98,000 annually can qualify for discounted health insurance. Depending on income and the plan chosen, an affordable option may only be a phone call away. Our enrollment specialists have helped thousands of Mainers find affordable options. At Penobscot Community Health Care, we’ve helped Mainers enroll in comprehensive health insurance for zero dollars per month.
One of the major myths going around this year is that the Affordable Care Act is imploding — not so. Last year, nearly 80,000 Mainers bought health insurance on the marketplace exchange. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that half of them will be eligible for free premiums on bronze plans today. This year’s open enrollment period has seen the biggest jump in enrollment since the Affordable Care Act was enacted seven years ago.
We’ve helped people enroll in insurance who’ve never had it before. People who tell us that they haven’t been to the doctor in years because they couldn’t afford to go. People who tell us that they shovel their driveway and roofs, chop and haul wood with fingers crossed they don’t get injured because they can’t afford a trip to the emergency room or a hospital stay.
These are Mainers who can access the health care services they need. These are Mainers who sleep a bit better at night knowing if the worst happened, they wouldn’t lose everything they worked so hard to build just to pay medical bills.
Mainers are a strong-willed, hearty people. It is important to support this inherent strength in our people by making sure that we can keep our bodies whole and healthy. Please call us at 404-800 ext. 2007 for assistance if you lack health care coverage, or go to healthcare.gov or pchc.com/enroll to learn more.
Angela Fileccia is chief care management and social services officer at Penobscot Community Health Care.
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