Health Care Resources
for the Uninsured and Underinsured
Get More Information
Full benefit MaineCare (formerly called Medicaid and Cub Care) covers
most health care needs for both adults and children who meet the eligibility
requirements. Most people do not pay a premium (some families pay a small premium
for their children's coverage). Children do not have co-payments, but some adults
pay small co-payments for some services. There is no asset test for children
and pregnant women. For most adults, assets are counted, but many assets (such
as home or car or some savings) are not counted.
There are different income limits depending on the "category" of
eligibility (i.e. child, parent, senior). These income limits for MaineCare benefit packages
are linked to the Federal Poverty
Level (FPL) Guidelines. The Census Bureau publishes these figures and they change
every year. Remember that there are income and asset deductions and
exclusions in most benefit packages, so you may be eligible, even if your income
or assets are higher than the figures listed in the eligibility charts.
Get more details on income and asset limits
When in doubt…apply! Even if
you are ineligible for full benefit MaineCare, the Department of Health &
Human Services (DHHS) will check to see if you are eligible for other benefits,
such as coverage for prescription drugs. DHHS will try
to select the best benefit package for you, based on your individual situation.
For an application, call:
DHHS posts some of its most common application forms.
If you know which form you need, you may be able to
download an application.
Medically Needy benefit. This benefit is for people who are over-income
for full benefit MaineCare, have limited income and very high medical bills
(usually thousands of dollars). You must also be:
- 65 or older;
- 20 or younger;
- pregnant; or
- the parent of a minor child.
When you apply for the Medically Needy benefit, DHHS will tell you what your
deductible (also called "spend down") is. The deductible is the amount
of medical bills you have to incur before being eligible for full benefit MaineCare.
Usually the deductible amount is very high. You do not need to have paid this
amount in medical costs, just owe the money. You will need to provide documentation
of your expenses to DHHS. Usually the deductible is calculated for a six-month
period. When you meet the deductible, you will be eligible for full benefit
MaineCare for the rest of that six month period. At the end of six-months, you
will need to be recertified and, again, meet the deductible for the following
Get more details
The Katie Beckett Option. Children with disabilities may be eligible
for full benefit MaineCare, even if their family is over-income. The Katie Beckett
option is for children with serious physical or mental health conditions. Eligibility
is based on the child's own financial situation, not the family's (currently,
the child can have up to $2,022 in income). The child must also meet the Social
Security rules for disability. When you fill out the MaineCare application,
if you have a child with a disability, be sure to check off the box that asks
if anyone in your household has a disability.
Working Disabled benefit. Many people under age 65 with disabilities
who work may be eligible for full benefit MaineCare through the working disabled
benefit (sometimes called the "Medicaid Buy-In" program). If you have
a disability (based only on the medical disability part of the Social Security
standard) and you work, you will be eligible for full benefit MaineCare if:
- You have countable unearned income at or below 100% of the federal
poverty level; and
- Your total countable (earned and unearned) income isn't over 250% of
the poverty level (remember, not all income counts!); and
- Your countable assets are not over $8,000 for one person or $12,000
for a couple. (many assets don't count toward this limit, including your home,
up to two vehicles, and some savings)..
If your monthly countable income is over 150% of the poverty level, you will
need to pay a small monthly premium for your benefits.
Go to income charts
Nursing Home and Home and Community Benefit for the Elderly or Adults with
Disabilities Benefit. In order to receive MaineCare coverage for nursing
home care or equivalent care at home, you must need the level of medical care
given in a nursing home. There are other MaineCare programs that offer different
levels of care in the home depending on your needs. You must also meet the income
and asset limits. The income limits are higher than for full benefit MaineCare.
To learn more, call
your local Area Agency on
or 1-877-ELDERS1 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-877-ELDERS1 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (1-877-353-3771 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-877-353-3771 end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
If you are looking for a care facility in Maine, try using
Assisted Living Facilities Search, posted by
DHHS's Office of Elder Services.
The Medicare Savings Program (MSP).
Medicare doesn't pay the full cost of your health care, including deductibles,
co-payments and premiums. MaineCare has a benefit that will help pay these costs,
the Medicare Buy-In benefit - which includes:
- Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMB);
- Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries (SLMB) and
- Qualified Individuals (QI).
These benefits are sometimes called the "Medicare Savings Program"
or "dual eligible" benefits. People may be eligible if they:
- are eligible for Medicare, and
- have income that is higher than for full benefit MaineCare
Assets are not counted in these programs.
Here is a chart with the different Medicare Buy-In benefits and the income limits
and coverage for each one.
Couple, with only one spouse getting MSP benefit
Part B premium
If you have earned income, you may get work-related income deductions. This means that your income can be
higher than shown on this chart.
The Social Security Administration is responsible for determining eligibility
for Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance
(SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Here is how Social Security
benefits are linked with Medicare and MaineCare:
People eligible to get Social Security retirement benefits are
also eligible for Medicare.
- People under age 65 getting Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits
are eligible for Medicare after getting SSDI benefits for 24-months.
- People eligible to get Supplemental Security Income or the State
Supplement because their SSDI or Social Security retirement benefits are very
low are eligible for both Medicare and full benefit MaineCare.
- People eligible to get SSI only are eligible for full benefit MaineCare.
While Medicare does cover many medical services, it is not comprehensive insurance.
For example, Medicare does not cover routine physical exams or nursing home
Medicare has three major parts:
- Part A (hospital insurance),
- Part B (medical insurance) and
- Part D (prescription drugs).
Medicare has annual deductibles,
co-payments, and premiums. There are premiums for all three parts. However,
most seniors are eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A. The Medicare Part
B premium is $96.40 per month in 2009. Everyone with Medicare is responsible
for paying this premium. However, people who have low income may be eligible
for assistance in paying for it. See Medicare Savings Program above
The Low Cost Drug Program for the Elderly and Disabled (also known as
DEL). Most people who are enrolled in both Medicare and MaineCare (or MSP) are automatically enrolled in DEL.
If you are 62 and older or at least 19 and disabled, and you are not enrolled in Medicare, you may be eligible for DEL
if your income is below 185% of the federal poverty level. DEL has no asset test.
For people who are not enrolled in Medicare, DEL covers approximately
80% of the cost of virtually all generic drugs and 80% of the cost of brand
name drugs for 13 specific medical conditions. For other conditions, drugs may
also be covered after you have spent a total of $1,000 of your own money on
drugs in a year.
To get an application, call DHHS at 1-866-796-2463 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-866-796-2463 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. If you
have questions or need assistance filling out the application, call the
Services for the Elderly HelpLine at 1-800-750-5353 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-750-5353 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
Important Note about Prior authorization and the Preferred Drug List:
Whether you get your drugs through MaineCare or are enrolled in the Low
Cost Drug Program, some prescription drugs must be prior approved by DHHS
in order to be covered by MaineCare. DHHS has a Preferred Drug List (PDL).
If the drug you are taking, or that your doctor wants you to take, is not
on the list, your doctor will need to request permission from DHHS in order
for DHHS to approve coverage of your prescription. This is only required when
the Department believes there is another less expensive drug on the PDL that
may work just as well for you. If the Department approves your doctor's request
to give you a different drug than the one DHHS recommends, you will be able
to get that drug with no further delay.
Which drugs are on the Preferred Drug List?
MaineRx Plus offers 15-60% savings off retail prices for preferred
drugs on the
MaineCare Preferred Drug List. This benefit will be available primarily to people with incomes
below 350% of the federal poverty level.
People with higher income who spend more than 5% of their
income on prescription drugs or 15% or more of their income on all health care
costs will also be eligible. For an application, contact your local DHHS office
or call DHHS at 1-866-796-2463 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-866-796-2463 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
Drug company discount cards and prescription assistance programs. Many
drug companies have discount cards or programs that offer a discount or the
retail cost of prescription drugs or, in some cases, provide them for free.
Each company has it's own income limits and other requirements. Most require
that you don't have prescription drug coverage. For information about drug company
programs for a specific drug, talk with your doctor, and go to
Other Health Care Resources
Community Health Centers provide a range of services on a sliding scale,
based on income. Get a statewide map or call
the Maine Primary Care Association at (207) 621-0677 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (207) 621-0677 end_of_the_skype_highlighting to find out which Community
Health Center is closest to you.
Hospitals: Every hospital in Maine has a Free Hospital Care program.
Each hospital has its own income guidelines. If you have hospital expenses,
the billing office at the hospital should give you an application and let you
know if you qualify for the program. Some areas have programs that cover a wider
range of services, including visits to the doctor's office and prescription
drugs. These regional programs include:
CarePartners - 1-877-883-1797 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-877-883-1797 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
CarePartners provides health care services including primary care, drugs, and
hospital care to eligible residents of Lincoln County, Kennebec County and Greater
Portland between the ages of 19 and 64. There is a small co-payment for services.
To qualify you must be uninsured and meet the income and asset guidelines. The
current income limit is 175% of the FPL.
Franklin Health Access Project - 1-888-952-2772 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-888-952-2772 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or 779-2772 (TTY: 779-2662)
Health Access provides many basic health care services, including primary and
hospital care, to uninsured residents of Franklin County, Livermore, Livermore
Falls and Vienna that meet the eligibility criteria. The current income limit
is 200% of the FPL. Services are provided on a sliding-fee scale.
Community Clinical Services - 777-8899
Community Clinical Services (CCS) providers are affiliated with St.
Mary's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. Uninsured individuals that meet
the income guidelines can receive medical services from participating practices
in the Lewiston-Auburn area on a free or sliding-fee scale. Most CCS patients
also qualify for St. Mary's free care program.
Community Health Connection - 438-9997
The mission of Community Health Connection is to support access to health services
for uninsured, financially eligible individuals who live in Eliot, Kittery,
Ogunquit, South Berwick, Wells and York by collaborating with the local health
COBRA - Workers who lose their health insurance when they are laid off are
often entitled to continue their coverage for up to 18 months at their own expense.
If you qualify, you should be notified of your COBRA option within two weeks
of the termination of your employer-paid coverage. Then you have 60 days to
decide whether you want continued coverage, and another 45 days to begin making
More on COBRA
For more information about health care benefits for people with limited income, go to:
Maine Equal Justice Health Care Index
Maine Legal Services for the Elderly
Consumers for Affordable Health Care HelpLine
1-800-965-7476 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-965-7476 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Maine Primary Care Association
If you have individual questions or need assistance:
For questions about health care for children, their families, and adults under
the age of 60, call the Consumers for Affordable Health Care Helpline at 1-800-965-7476 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-965-7476 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
For questions about health care for seniors, 60 and older, and people with
disabilities, call the Maine Legal Services for the Elderly hotline at 1-800-750-5353 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-750-5353 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.