AUGUSTA – Today, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, introduced legislation to support the continued operations of Maine’s free, confidential health care consumer assistance program at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee.
LD 1077, “An Act to Fund Consultation Services to Ensure Affordable Health Care for Maine Residents” allows the state to continue its contract with a nonprofit, independent advocacy organization committed to helping Maine residents obtain quality, affordable health care.
“Health care coverage is critical to the health of Maine people. It allows folks to seek the preventive care they need as opposed to forgoing care and putting their health at risk due to cost. However, the health insurance industry is incredibly complex and difficult to navigate,” said President Jackson. “The consumer assistance program ensures that Mainers have someone in their corner helping them get the coverage and care they deserve, and receive the benefits they are owed. It’s vital that this program continues.”
Maine’s Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program is currently operated by Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care. The program can help Maine people navigate health care coverage options, understand medical bills, file insurance coverage appeals, and better understand the rights they have under health insurance contracts.
“For years, there were hard-fought efforts in the legislature and at the ballot box for expanded access to health care,” said Attorney General Aaron Frey. The Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program is an essential piece of ensuring that every Mainer can find and keep coverage. I am enthusiastic that the Office of the Attorney General can play a role in this important mission.”
In 2021, Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care’s free, confidential helpline fielded 5,641 calls and helped consumers recover more than $107,000 in medical benefits. In addition, the organization trained a statewide network of enrollment professionals to help consumers explore health care coverage options and enroll in a health insurance plan.
Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care has operated Maine Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program since 2010.
LD 1077 faces additional work sessions in committee.