In 2012, more than 45 million Americans lacked health insurance coverage, including 145,000 residents of Maine. In many cases, it was because these people worked for companies that did not include health insurance coverage as part of their benefits package. For others it was because health insurance was simply too expensive. And for a number of citizens, it was because a pre-existing condition made it impossible for them to get coverage. Fortunately, the new healthcare laws will alleviate much of this problem by bringing more affordable coverage options to people in need and by forbidding health insurance providers from turning people away. If you are in search of a health insurance policy for yourself or your family in Maine, now is a great time to start comparing medical insurance quotes.
Health Snapshot of Maine’s Residents, 2008
- About 40% of all adults had a diagnosis of high cholesterol.
- Approximately 29% of all adults had a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
- About 32% of all state residents had a diagnosis of arthritis.
- An estimated 7% of all state residents had a diagnosis of diabetes.
- In 2007, about 8,340 residents had a diagnosis of cancer in ME.
- Of those, 880 were colorectal cancer, and 980 were breast cancer.
More than half of Maine’s residents suffer from one or more chronic diseases. People spend a lot of money each year treating these diseases, many of which are preventable. Early detection can treat preventable diseases effectively and efficiently.
Routine preventive healthcare includes age-appropriate testing such as colonoscopies and mammograms. These tests are very effective in identifying the presence of cancer at its earliest stages. Unfortunately, many new cases of colorectal and breast cancer surface each year. Yet many residents forgo screening tests that allow for early detection because they lack health insurance coverage. This is disastrous given the fact that these tests often save lives and reduce the overall cost of treatment.
What Is the Maine Health Care Exchange?
The recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that all U.S. citizens obtain healthcare coverage or pay a penalty. As part of this new law, the states have set up healthcare exchanges, or marketplaces, that enable those who do not receive health benefits through their employers, spouses or parents to purchase coverage at low group rates.
Different factors determine the costs for policies on the Maine healthcare exchange: the applicant's age, tobacco use, household income and the level of coverage purchased. Low-income residents who make too much to qualify for Medicaid will receive the most in federal subsidies to make this healthcare coverage more affordable.
Health Risk Factors in Maine, 2007
- Approximately 20% of adults and 14% of high school students smoke cigarettes.
- About 63% of adults and 13% of high school students in this state are overweight.
- An estimated 71% of adults and 80% of high school students eat fewer than five servings of fruits or vegetables a day.
- 18% of Maine’s women over the age of 40 state they have not had a mammogram in the past two years.
- 36% of ME adults over 50 have never had a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
- 14% of this state’s adults reported having no health insurance coverage in 2007.
Citizens of Maine who lack healthcare coverage often try to save money by avoiding medical examinations unless they are suffering from an illness, ailment or injury that makes medical attention absolutely necessary. Often, by the time they believe their health concerns warrant a visit to the doctor, their health issues have escalated to such a degree that wide-ranging and expensive treatment becomes necessary.
The Affordable Healthcare Act mandates that insurance companies cover preventive care, including annual physicals. These examinations typically include routine blood work and blood pressure screening and result in healthier lifestyles for patients. During these visits, doctors can educate their patients about any detected health risks so that the patients can make lifestyle changes that leading to longer, healthier lives. With a health insurance policy in place, residents of Maine can have the benefits of preventive care without worrying about costs.
Major Illnesses Come with Excessive Costs
- Cancer patients can spend more than $1,500 a month on prescription drugs alone.
- The average cost of one day in the Intensive Care Unit is about $7,000.
- After-care treatment for stroke survivors typically costs about $15,000.
An estimated 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings in the United States happen as the result of overwhelming, unmanageable medical bills. In 2011, 3,392 individuals in Maine filed for bankruptcy. In many cases, the individual could have avoided this demoralizing financial hardship by having access to suitable health insurance coverage.
It is not only major illnesses that can bring about excessive health costs. In a state where approximately 1 in 5 adults smokes cigarettes, smoking-related illnesses have led to expensive treatments. According to the CDC, in 2004, residents of Maine spent about $550 million on smoking-related expenditures, as follows:
- $75 million on ambulatory care
- $282 million on in-patient hospital care
- $51 million on nursing home care
- $87 million on prescription drugs
- $55 million on other, miscellaneous expenses
If you are a smoker, you may want to speak with your doctor about smoking cessation techniques.
Get Help Obtaining Health Insurance Quotes in Maine
Navigating through the healthcare system can be confusing. With so many different plans, options, deductibles and premiums, it can be hard to decide which policy is right for you and your family. You probably have a lot of questions. An independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network can provide the answers.
These agents, many of whom have offices in Maine, can provide you with a variety of medical insurance quotes and can then help you understand the coverage offered by each. Get started with your health insurance search; contact a Trusted Choice agent near you.