Healthcare in Maine — Your Questions Answered
By Sandra HarrisMany members of the Retire to Maine Facebook group have discussed an interest in health care in Maine. Members have submitted specific questions and we have reached out to community leaders to answer those questions and point out resources.
There are several resources available for Mainers with questions about health insurance.
“Is there a Health Connector in Maine like Massachusetts has to purchase health insurance for individuals?”
“Too young for Medicare, what are the affordable insurance options?”
“I’m hoping there might be info on Maine ACA somewhere, anyone know?
ACA Health Care Navigators are positioned throughout the state. Navigators serve as resources for those who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace. To find a local Health Care Navigator in your area, dial 211 and a Maine-based 211 Specialist can provide you with the appropriate contact information. You can also search the 211 Maine directory at www.211maine.org.
There is also a Maine helpline for those with insurance questions through the enroll207 initiative. Dial 1-800-965-7476 or visit www.enroll207.com.
As always though, we encourage people to call 211 (or text their zip code to 898-211) and they can connect with one of our Maine-based Specialists 24/7.
Nikki Busmanis, 211 Maine Program Manager
United Way of Mid-Maine
“We are looking for an area with good emergency care. Hubby has two terminal illnesses and having a good hospital close is vital. Leaning more inland near a lake or river.”
Maine Medical Center is probably the best hospital in Maine. My second answer would be Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Although it is in a city, it is a small city and very close to many rural parts of Maine. I have many family members that have utilized EMMC with great outcomes and stellar care. My advice for someone with many medical issues would be to live no more than 20–30 minutes away from the nearest hospital. Larger hospital systems such as MMC/Mainehealth and EMMC/EMHS also have more resources to offer their patients in times of need and can provide more support in different ways, such as financial and social.
Brandi Lingley, LSW, Social Work Case Manager with Maine Medical Partners, Population Health & Care Transitions
Yes, we have a cornea specialist here at Eyecare Medical Group, located in Portland, Maine. His name is Adam Sise, MD.”
“I have had a cornea transplant and was wondering if there is a good eye specialist near the coast. I have fuchs’ dystrophy.”
Kathleen Brackett, Administrative & Human Resources Director
Eyecare Medical Group
There are numerous transportation options depending on where you live. If you choose to live in an independent living or assisted living residence, frequently transportation to appointments is available as one of the many services offered.
“I’m wondering about transportation services to doctors’ offices and other medical services if unable to drive.”
“Regional Transportation Program is a United Way agency that provides low-cost transportation to the elderly, social service agency clients, the economically disadvantaged and persons with disabilities throughout Cumberland County with the exception of Brunswick and Harpswell. For those riders who are 60 or over, RTP offers rides at affordable prices. For those with a low income, RTP contracts with DHHS to provide rides to medical and other appointments. A yearly application with income verification is required.”
Jack De Beradinis, Executive Director
Regional Transportation Program, Portland
Other resources include the Maine Association Area Agencies on Aging. Their five agencies together cover the state and can point you to transportation services.
If you need to travel to Boston for cancer treatments, the American Cancer Society has partnered with Amtrak’s Downeaster train to offer a special cancer care fare.
Many doctors’ offices and hospitals now have social workers on staff. They are a resource that may help you develop a transportation strategy.
“How difficult is it to find a good primary care physician? I’m in Kennebec county.”
“MaineGeneral Health offers many options for high-quality, affordable primary care medical services in Kennebec and Somerset counties.
MaineGeneral’s physician health organization includes 34 primary care practices located throughout the greater Kennebec Valley region, most of which are accepting new patients.
The foundation for regional primary care is the Maine-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency, which is one of the oldest training programs in the country for family medicine physicians and has three primary care practices open to new patients.
Many highly skilled physicians physician assistants and nurse practitioners have joined MaineGeneral practices in recent years, with family medicine practices in our four largest communities open to new patients.
MaineGeneral also has an adult internal medicine practice opening in late March at the Thayer Center for Health in Waterville, the largest outpatient center in Maine, and three MaineGeneral pediatric practices provide excellent newborn, pediatric and adolescent care.
Lastly, MaineGeneral has a residency-affiliated geriatric medicine practice that provides consultative and some limited primary care for those elderly patients with specific needs.
To help patients access primary and specialty care services, MaineGeneral has a centralized “Hub” where staff connect callers with practices close to where they live that are accepting new patients. The hub is staffed with highly trained educators Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you need a health care provider or other health education resources, please call the “Hub” at (207) 872-4102. For more information on MaineGeneral practices or services, please visit www.mainegeneral.org.”
John D. Begin
Comm. Specialist, Marketing & Communications
Have other questions about healthcare in Maine? Let us know and we’ll do our best to find answers. Find more retirement resources here.
Opinions expressed are those of the interviewed sources and do not necessarily indicate the opinion of Down East.