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Mills urges Mainers to secure health insurance before deadline

Thursday is the last enrollment date to ensure coverage by Jan. 1. Mainers can compare plans and apply for discounts at CoverME.gov.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills and the state’s health commissioner urged Mainers in need of health insurance to enroll through the state’s website by Thursday, Dec. 15, or risk not having coverage come Jan. 1.

Mills, a Democrat, and Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew are directing Mainers to CoverME.gov, an online marketplace where they can compare health insurance plans and automatically apply for income-based discounts. There is still a full month left in the open enrollment period, which ends Jan. 15, but Mainers can miss out on coverage by Jan. 1 if they don’t sign up by Dec. 15. And, Lambrew said, this program is critical if you need financial help.

"It is the only place where people can go and get financial assistance from the federal government," she said. "Nationally, four out of five consumers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less after this financial assistance, so it really is the only place where you can go to get that type of help."

In addition to the website, the nonprofit Consumers for Affordable Health Care operates a call center to help Mainers find the right plan. Ann Woloson, the nonprofit's executive director, said staff would be working until 10 p.m. Wednesday to help as many people as they could.

According to Lambrew's office, 60,000 Mainers found plans through the site since Nov. 1 of this year, and 66,000 enrolled during last year's window. Lambrew told NEWS CENTER Maine that number is right on track to where they want to be.

"There are different challenges that people have, so we're trying to meet people where they are," she said. "But we feel cautiously optimistic that we are doing as well as we were last year at this time, and that we can, in this last month, get to the same place or a similar place as we were last year."

Mills' office reported that so far in 2022, more than 80 percent of people shopping on the site qualified for help paying for their insurance.

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