Healthy Maine kids can grow up to become healthy Maine adults. Ensuring that children have access to proper health care coverage early on is critical to future development.
Here are the Facts:
- Right now, there are almost 15,000 children (6%) living without health insurance in Maine.
- Over 8,000 of these children live in low-income homes.
- That means 55 percent of Maine’s uninsured children are eligible for health care coverage through MaineCare.
While the rate of uninsured children has declined nationally, Maine’s rate of uninsured children has only increased. Only six years ago Maine had one of the lowest rates of uninsured children in the nation behind Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. Now, Maine trails behind 28 other states in child health care coverage.
Data tells us that not only is Maine’s rate of uninsured children going up, but Maine is also moving backwards on children’s health care coverage as so many other states are moving forward. Worse, many uninsured Maine children are eligible for coverage through Maine Care but remain without coverage.
While this trend is troubling, the good news, this is a problem that we as a state can easily solve. All it takes is to find someone who can perform outreach to eligible children and families, and get them to sign up.
Fortunately, there is already someone written into state law that can perform this important work – the Medicaid Managed Care Ombudsman.
The role of the Medicaid Managed Care Ombudsman is to help families navigate through the MaineCare system and perform important outreach work to get people enrolled in the program.
Preventive care plays a critical role in a child’s health later on in life. When children have access to proper health care coverage, they can develop a robust immune system. When children have access to proper health care coverage, they can focus more in the classroom. They have access to essential services at critical junctures in their development.
The MaineCare system is complicated. Parents are busy working to secure child care, put food on the table and pay their bills. Many parents, guardians and families are unaware of their child’s eligibility for the program. The least we can do is spread the word and make enrollment a little easier.
Our role at the Maine Children’s Alliance is to give Maine children and families a voice. All we want is to make Maine a better place to be a kid. Redefining the role of the Medicaid Managed Care Ombudsman in accordance with LD 1498 is just one easy way we can do that.