AUGUSTA – A bill put forward by Representative Anne Carney (D – Cape Elizabeth) would extend state funded health care benefits to non-citizens up to 21 years of age, along with expanding the program to cover 19- and 20-year old citizens.
The title of the bill, L.D. 1539, is “An Act To Provide Maine Children Access to Affordable Health Care”, which might lead casual observers to think the bill only expands coverage for minors.
Rep. Carney’s proposal comes on the heels of Governor Janet Mills expanding Medicaid to cover populations of Maine residents who were eligible for Medicaid under provisions of the federal law known as Obamacare.
The proposal would increase the threshold of family income to be eligible for the program, raising it from 200% of the federal poverty level to 325% of the federal poverty level as well.
It also adds language that allows the program administrator to adjust income requirements in cases where the program is going to spend less than anticipated in the budget in order to expand the program beyond what is laid out in the law.
Following is the language that would be added to expand “Cub Care” health care coverage to non-citizens up to 21 years of age:
2-B. Noncitizens. Health coverage under the Cub Care program is available to a person under 21 years of age who is not a citizen of the United States and whose family income is above the eligibility level for Medicaid under section 3174-G and below the maximum eligibility level established under subsection 2, paragraphs A and B and who meets the requirements set forth in subsection 2, paragraph C. All the requirements of eligibility, program administration, benefit delivery and outreach established in this section apply to a person under 21 years of age who is not a citizen of the United States.
In addition to expanding the income threshold to allow more people to be eligible, the bill also establishes that eligibility is not subject to an asset test, meaning that the value of any property an individual owns would not be considered as part of the eligibility requirements for the program.
Maine’s Department of Health and Human
Services would be required to file a state plan amendment with the United States
Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services
seeking approval of the use of the express lane eligibility option.
It also removes a three-month waiting
period for children who have lost health insurance or coverage under an
The bill, L.D. 1539, was introduced and referred to the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee yesterday. A public hearing will be held by the committee, but it has not yet been scheduled.