By Alex Carter
You may have heard or seen something about the “unwinding” of MaineCare. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, the federal government prevented adults from losing their MaineCare (Maine’s name for Medicaid). The government also prevented children from losing their CubCare (also known as CHIP). Now that this special coverage period has ended, the state is sending out requests for renewal to all MaineCare members.
This means that everyone with MaineCare needs to complete a renewal process to see if they are still eligible, or else they need to find new health insurance.
Renewal notices have already gone out to thousands of Maine households, and more are going out every month. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will let you know when it is your turn to renew. They will send you either a letter in the mail or an e-notice through your online My Maine Connection portal. This notice will arrive between April 2023 and March 2024, and everyone will be on a slightly different timeline. You might also get a call from a DHHS worker reminding you to turn in your renewal form. If you don’t complete your renewal before the due date, your MaineCare coverage will end.
You can take some steps right away to avoid gaps in your MaineCare coverage:
- Update your address and contact information with DHHS. Visit MyMaineConnection.gov or call (855) 797-4357 and select option 1.
- Be on the lookout for your renewal form. If you signed up to receive notices by mail, look for the envelope with the blue block (“If it’s blue, it’s time to renew!” says MaineCare). If you requested e-notifications, be sure to pay attention to your online portal messages.
- Complete and return the form as soon as possible. You can submit the form by mail, over the phone in your preferred language, or via MyMaineConnection.gov.
If DHHS already has your updated income and eligibility information through another program, your MaineCare might be automatically renewed, but pay close attention to your notices.
Even if you don’t think the adults in your household are eligible, completing the renewal is still a good idea for everyone who has MaineCare, including children. Kids have higher income eligibility ceilings than adults, and might be able to keep their coverage even if the adults are not eligible..
If DHHS says your income is over the limit for receiving MaineCare, you probably are eligible for subsidies (a discount) on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace to help you pay for an affordable health insurance plan. You have 90 days after losing MaineCare coverage to enroll in new coverage through CoverME.gov. You can also contact Consumers for Affordable Health Care (www.mainecahc.org) at (800) 965-7476 for more information or for help enrolling in a Marketplace plan.
If your employer offers health insurance through your job, you have 60 days to enroll in that new coverage after losing MaineCare.
If you already received your renewal form and did not complete it by the deadline, you have a 90-day reconsideration period to complete and submit your overdue renewal form.
Remember, stay connected to stay covered – and return your renewal forms to DHHS as soon as possible.
For more information, please visit maineequaljustice.org/help-is-available/health-care/. DHHS has information about the “unwinding” in other languages, as well: www.maine.gov/dhhs/node/4125.