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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Subsidies protect most Mainers from ACA insurance cost hikes

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Wednesday, November 1, 2023   

Health care premiums are increasing again under the federal Affordable Care Act, but experts said continued subsidies should protect most Mainers from any additional cost.

In fact, eight of 10 Mainers with a marketplace plan are expected to qualify for premium subsidies to lower their monthly payments.

Kate Ende, policy director at Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, said it is important for anyone looking to start a new plan or continue their current plan to do their health care homework.

"That's the key part: shopping around, to ensure that the plan that you enroll in for 2024 covers what you need it to but also stays in your price range for premiums," Ende urged.

Ende pointed out open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 16 but folks must sign up by Dec. 15 if they want coverage to begin at the start of the year.

More insurers are expanding their mental health coverage and offering more virtual care options, which gained popularity during the pandemic.

In Maine, Gov. Janet Mills signed legislation to ensure a person's first behavioral health visit each year would be fully covered, and a copay would cover the cost of the second and third visit.

Ende acknowledged it can be tempting to choose the plan with the cheapest premiums, but warned people to pay attention to the details.

"It's really important to check provider directories and drug formularies," Ende explained. "Make sure whatever plan you're choosing covers the doctors and providers you need, and the medications that you take as well."

Ende added deciding on a health care plan can be confusing but there's help available. Consumers for Affordable Healthcare offers enrollment assistance both in-person and through its help hotline, at 800-965-7476.

Disclosure: Consumers for Affordable Healthcare contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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