RADIO ADDRESS: Let’s get folks covered this season so no one has to go without health care.
If you need health insurance next year on the individual market you have six weeks to sign up. The Affordable Care Act makes it possible for more people to get coverage.
Hi, this is Sen. Geoff Gratwick of Bangor. Thanks for tuning in.
When I graduated from medical school, I took an oath to care for my patients to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, the lack of affordable, quality health care coverage makes it difficult for me to fulfill my oath.
As a physician in the greater Bangor area for over 35 years, I’ve seen firsthand how health care insurance ultimately governs a patient’s health care decisions. Having insurance can mean the difference between going to the doctor when you’re sick or putting it off. It can mean the difference between receiving regular preventive care or missing out on opportunities to detect and treat serious illnesses or disease. It can make the difference between taking your medicine or going without it. The stakes are just too high.
That’s why I strongly encourage all Mainers needing health care coverage through the marketplace to make enrollment a top priority right now. Last year, more than 75,000 Mainers signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act, including more than 16,500 new customers, who enrolled for the very first time.
The Open Enrollment period for 2019 coverage began on November 1 and runs until December 15. Six weeks may seem like a long time but I can assure you it’s not. With the Holiday season right around the corner, it’s important that you do some research, compare plans and enroll early by going to www.healthcare.gov.
If you do not have an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, MaineCare or Medicare, the Affordable Care Act plans are an excellent way for you to get insurance. Even if you have purchased a plan through the individual marketplace in the past, you may need to log on and renew your plan.
When looking for a plan that’s best for you, Maine Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa recommends comparing all the costs – deductibles, copays etc – and checking to ensure all your providers and medications will be covered.
This may seem like a daunting task but there are a number of great state and local resources to assist you. Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care operates a free, confidential HelpLine to answer your questions and assist you every step of the way. All you have to do is call: 1-800-965-7476. I am going to repeat this phone number later so get a pen.
I’ll admit that the Affordable Care Act is far from perfect but it has been effective in getting more folks covered. As a result, uninsured rates are at an all-time low, insurance companies can no longer discriminate against people with preexisting conditions and plans must cover certain essential services. Those are impressive results that matter when it comes to our overall health as a state and as a country.
Health insurance is critical to getting the health care you need and deserve. Don’t put it off any longer – enroll today! If you already have coverage, please spread the word. Tell your friends, family and neighbors that open enrollment runs until December 15. Let’s get folks covered this season so no one has to go without health care.
And again, all you have to do is call: 1-800-965-7476, 1-800-965-7476. And to sign up online go to www.healthcare.gov.
This is Sen. Geoff Gratwick. Thanks very much for listening.