Alex Carter, Policy Advocate | Maine Equal Justice 

    Here are two pieces of good health care news to start the year! 

    • More Maine kids and young people up to 20 years old are now eligible for health coverage through MaineCare 
    • Pregnant people are now able to keep their MaineCare for 12 months after their pregnancy ends, regardless of their immigration status 

     Both changes apply to citizens, non-citizens, and mixed-status households.

    MaineCare for Kids 

    Many more kids and young people under age 21 now qualify for MaineCare for Kids. Advocates and legislators worked hard to increase the amount of money that families can make and still keep their children on MaineCare. This means that more kids and young adults can get the healthcare they need to grow and learn. 

    Since October 1, 2023, children in families with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty limit may now be eligible for MaineCare. For example, a family of two can make up to $62,000 or a family of four can make up to $95,000 and their kids can still get coverage through MaineCare. Because of this increase in income limits, many children in families who were not eligible in the past may now qualify.  

    This expansion also means 19- and 20-year-olds may enroll in the same no-cost coverage as younger children. It also makes MaineCare for Kids more affordable and easier to access by removing copays, premiums, and waiting periods for enrollment.  

    This change comes at an important time – since April of 2023, the state has been “redetermining” (checking) eligibility for all MaineCare members, and some families with children have lost their coverage. Some kids who lost coverage recently may again qualify for MaineCare under the expansion, so if you think your family falls in this category, contact the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to reapply (instructions are at the end of this article). If you haven’t received your recertification paperwork yet, be sure to update your address and contact information with DHHS and return the forms as soon as possible to avoid gaps in your family’s healthcare coverage.  

    Extended postpartum coverage for all 

    In 2022, we celebrated MaineCare coverage for immigrant kids and pregnant people, regardless of immigration status. However, due to differences in our state and federal laws, pregnant people who had newly gained MaineCare were only offered postpartum coverage in the month in which their pregnancy ended. This meant some immigrants were not able to access the recommended follow-up care they needed.  

    We learned just before the new year that all pregnant people, including all immigrants, with MaineCare will now receive 12 months of postpartum coverage after the end of their pregnancy. This coverage is effective right now! Those who already have MaineCare will be automatically enrolled in the additional benefit.  

    How to apply for MaineCare 

    • You can apply online at MyMaineConnection.gov or call (855) 797-4357 to request free interpretation services to assist you in your preferred language. 
    • You can also call Consumers for Affordable Health Care at (800) 965-7476 for help applying or with questions about MaineCare and Marketplace eligibility. 

    These coverage changes are both big steps forward for health equity and justice in Maine, but we won’t stop fighting until everyone – regardless of age, pregnancy, or immigration status – can access the healthcare they need and deserve. If you have questions about the new coverage or you’re interested in learning more about the movement for immigrant access to MaineCare, please contact our Health Policy Advocate, Alex Carter, at [email protected].