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ACA Enrollment Still Open, Despite Supreme Court Hearing

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020   

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Many lower-income Mainers are anxiously anticipating the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the future of the Affordable Care Act. The court is expected to hear oral arguments today.

According to a new report from Consumers for Affordable Health Care and West Health, 66,000 Mainers have lost their health insurance due to the economic shutdown. Kate Ende, policy director at Consumers for Affordable Health Care in Maine, said the Supreme Court is not expected to make a decision about the cases until next summer.

"While the court case poses a real threat to the ACA and could jeopardize coverage for over 100,000 Mainers, including people who have insurance through the Marketplace or MaineCare expansion, for now, nothing has changed and the ACA remains the law," Ende said.

More than a dozen states and the Trump administration are arguing to the Supreme Court that the individual mandate, requiring that Americans carry health insurance, is unconstitutional.

The Affordable Care Act open-enrollment period is open through December 15 for coverage beginning January 1.

The Consumers for Affordable Health Care report noted nearly 200,000 Mainers did not seek medical treatment for a health problem because of cost in the past year. Many worry health care prices could get even worse if the ACA is struck down.

In the meantime, Ende stressed Mainers who want to apply for health care through the ACA Marketplace or MaineCare should do so.

"Everyone who has health insurance right now under ACA programs should keep their coverage," she said. "And anyone who is eligible for a Marketplace plan or MaineCare expansion should continue to enroll without hesitation."

Mainers can apply for MaineCare any time. But Mainers are only able to ask for Marketplace coverage during the annual open-enrollment period, unless they qualify for a special enrollment period, for example by losing employer-based health insurance.


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