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PNS Daily Newscast - May 23, 2018 


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Clock Ticking for ACA, Medicare Enrollment

Last year, more than 79,000 Mainers enrolled in marketplace insurance plans. (AARP)
Last year, more than 79,000 Mainers enrolled in marketplace insurance plans. (AARP)
November 8, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine residents who need health care coverage for 2018 don't have a lot of time to get their ducks in a row.

Open enrollment periods for Medicare and health insurance through the Affordable Care Act overlap this year, with enrollment for Medcare ending Dec. 7 and enrollment for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace ending Dec. 15.

Rich Livingston, volunteer president for AARP Maine, says folks who need insurance through ACA have less time than they've had in the past, and fewer resources about how to get coverage.

"The opportunity that open enrollment presents this year is at least as important – maybe more important – than it's ever been, but the burden for sorting all of this out falls to the individual," he states.

Medicare and marketplace plans can be confusing, and Livingston says help is available through local Community Action Agencies for both marketplace insurance and Medicare.

And folks over age 65 are also encouraged to reach out to their local Area Agency on Aging for additional assistance.

Given the current political climate, Livingston says many people have questions about the future of access to health care, and what will happen to Medicaid and Medicare. But he says there simply are not answers at this time.

"The best, most important thing people can do is concentrate on what needs to happen this year to make sure you and your family are protected for 2018 and worry about whatever happens beyond 2018 later,” he urges. “Take care of this year's needs first."

There are more than 300,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Maine, and last year more than 79,000 and people in the state enrolled in marketplace insurance plans.

For more information on finding free, local assistance, look online at aarp.org/me.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - ME