Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What Your Consumers Need to Know About Health Insurance in 2014

Agency Services Field Rep Lori Fecteau (r) visited Katahdin Food Kupboard in East Millinocket on Tuesday, and enrolling for health insurance was a topic of conversation.  Here, pantry volunteers Marlene & Mike talk
with Lori about their enrollment experience.  See the article below for more information on how pantries can help consumers with insurance information before the March 31 deadline.

by Emily Brostek, MPH, CHES, Consumer Assistance Program Manager
    Consumers for Affordable Health Care Foundation

(special to the GSFB Network Blog)

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, many Mainers have a new way to get health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The Health Insurance Marketplace helps people find health coverage they can afford. People can apply online at, by phone at 1-800-318-2596, or with the help of a local assister.

Most Mainers can get help paying for a plan on the Marketplace. Financial help is available on a sliding scale, based on how much money you make and how big your household is. For example, a couple in Portland who make $25,000 a year could get a plan for between $0-94 a month.

Some parents, children, people with disabilities, and seniors may find out they qualify for MaineCare or CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). They should apply for MaineCare using the online portal at My Maine Connection, or by calling our HelpLine at 1-800-965-7476.

Help spread the word!

Nearly 7 out of 10 people do not know that financial help is available. Many have not checked out their options yet because they think they can’t afford insurance.

Maine's food pantries and soup kitchens can help! Here’s how:

· Share materials at your site. Contact our HelpLine at 1-800-965-7476, and we will send you brochures and flyers. You can also order resources online through Enroll207.

· Ask a local assister to visit your food pantry or soup kitchen to do an info session or help clients sign up. You can find local assisters by visiting

· Refer people to our HelpLine at 1-800-965-7476 for help. We can help people understand their options and how to apply.

Remember, people who don’t have insurance in 2014 may have to pay a penalty, unless they qualify for an exemption! The deadline to sign up is approaching quickly: March 31, 2014!

(Not sure you understand the Affordable Care Act? This short video is a great introduction to "Understanding the Health Insurance Marketplace in Maine" -- share with family and friends and post it on your pantry or soup kitchen's Facebook page! You don't need to be an expert on the Affordable Care Act, as long as you know where to go -- and where to refer others -- for help.)

GSFB Network is a blog for partner agencies of Good Shepherd Food Bank focused on feeding Maine's hungry.