2018 Health Insurance Enrollment Ends Dec. 15

Bridget Thornton is MLA’s health insurance Navigator. MLA photo

With the open enrollment period cut in half this year, your window to sign up for health insurance is closing quickly. Open enrollment ends December 15th and if you do not sign up now, you will have to wait until next fall to get coverage unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s (MLA) health insurance Navigator is available to help you with the process. We know it can be overwhelming but that’s why we are here — to help you every step of the way and get you enrolled in a plan that will work for you and your family.
We’ve been busy at work since open enrollment started on November 1st and are encouraged by the number of people who have called to set up appointments. The federal government cut advertising by 90% this year so we tried to fill that void by connecting on social media, the MLA weekly email blasts, and events in the community. Marketplace enrollments are up by 45% this year compared to this time last year!
The MLA has been helping lobstermen, their families, and the community with health insurance enrollment since November 2013, when the health insurance Marketplace was launched. MLA Navigators make themselves available for phone consultations during evening hours and weekends so we can be sure to reach as many people as possible. We’ve spoken to all sorts of people, from those who are enrolling for the first time to those who are re-enrolling for the fifth time. We are happy that you know we are still here and ready to help.
MLA’s Navigators take the time to understand your situation and what your needs are. We know that no two people are alike and thus everyone’s health insurance needs are going to be different. We will talk through any questions you have about coverage and compare plans with you to make sure you enroll in a plan that fits your budget and your needs. We know that this is an important decision to make and will never rush you into a plan that you don’t feel comfortable with.
The Marketplace has new plans and prices every year so even if you are already enrolled in a health plan for 2017, it’s always a good idea to shop around and see what the options are. Your 2017 plan may be offered in 2018 but the deductible and out-of-pocket costs may have changed. MLA’s Navigators can help you compare your current plan to the plans being offered in 2018; it takes just a few minutes to be sure that what they are offering will continue to work for you in the new year.
Our work doesn’t end once open enrollment is over. We are here to help you throughout the year for things like making an appeal to the insurance company, helping to find a primary care doctor, and other issues that may arise. MLA’s Navigators will do follow-up calls to check in and make sure you have the support you need. While we hope that everyone stays healthy throughout the year, you never know when something may happen — a trip to the emergency room, an unexpected surgery. If this happens to you, let us know. We can connect with the insurance company to see what your expenses, if any, will look like.
If you have questions about your health insurance options, we can meet one-on-one for free over the phone, through remote computer access using GoToMeeting.com, or if you’re able to come into the MLA office in Kennebunk, we can meet with you there. Remember that the clock is ticking! Please don’t hesitate to contact the MLA at 207-967-4555 or email bridget@mainelobstermen.org.