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2003 Press Releases

CarePartners Expands Eligibility - Many Patients Move into MaineCare

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CarePartners
(877) 883-1797

The expansion of the state Medicaid program, known as MaineCare, has created a win-win situation for the people of Greater Portland and Kennebec County. The "Childless Adult" expansion of Medicaid broadened the income guidelines for eligibility for Medicaid benefits. This has allowed CarePartners, a program created by MaineGeneral Medical Center and MaineHealth and its partners, to increase its income eligibility in their Greater Portland and Kennebec County coverage areas.

"The MaineCare expansion partially closed the gap that CarePartners was created to fill," said Deborah Deatrick, Vice President of Community Health for MaineHealth. "Our target was the uninsured who did not qualify for Medicaid. Now that Medicaid guidelines have been raised, we can raise ours as well and help those who still do not qualify."

CarePartners has transferred approximately 350 of its members to MaineCare under the new guidelines. The resulting decrease in enrollment means that CarePartners has the capacity to serve additional uninsured persons. The result is that in total, more people will be receiving health care services, either through Medicaid or through CarePartners.

CarePartners is operated through MaineGeneral Medical Center in Kennebec County, Maine Medical Center in Greater Portland, and Miles and LincolnHealth – St. Andrews Campuss in Lincoln County, all members of the MaineHealth family. All hospitals in the service areas participate by providing free care to CarePartners members, and there are over 750 physicians who have signed up to provide medical services at just $10.00 per office visit. Home care is also included, and pharmaceuticals are available to CarePartners members for a $5.00 co-pay.

The state estimates that on average, each person newly enrolled in the MaineCare expansion category will bring $3,000 in reimbursements to the health care system. For CarePartners members, this amounts to more than $1 million in medical costs which would have otherwise been uncompensated.

"A key goal of CarePartners is to maximize enrollment in MaineCare," says Stephen Sears, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at MaineGeneral Medical Center. "Every day, our intake staff screen people for eligibility for MaineCare and help them through the application process. In the past year, CarePartners made more than 2,200 referrals to this and other community-based services."

CarePartners does a comprehensive assessment of income and health insurance status for new enrollees, so when MaineCare expanded in October, the program was easily able to identify members who were newly eligible and help them complete the application in a timely manner.

"The provision of health care regardless of ability to pay is a fundamental part of MaineHealth and all our member organization's mission," Deatrick says. " With the strong support of the physician community, CarePartners is moving patients from episodic and uncoordinated free care to an organized system that emphasizes prevention and provides comprehensive care."

Uninsured individuals who are not offered coverage through their employer and who live in Greater Portland and Kennebec County may call CarePartners toll-free at 1-877-883-1797 to be screened for eligibility. The following are monthly income guidelines for eligibility (some deductions may also apply): Family of one, $1,292; Family of two, $1,741; Family of three, $2,190; Family of four, $2,640.

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