Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), tens of thousands of Maine people have obtained affordable health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. However, thousands more remain in the “coverage gap” meaning their incomes are above the MaineCare eligibility limits, but below the lower limit for Marketplace premium tax credits. Fortunately, CarePartners has been meeting this important community need by helping people access quality healthcare services and medications.
CarePartners, an innovative program led by MaineHealth, connects low-income and uninsured Maine people with free or low-cost healthcare services and care management. Now celebrating its fifteenth year of service, CarePartners has connected nearly 12,000 program enrollees to over $90 million in donated care since 2001.
The program, a partnership between MaineHealth, physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers, helps adults who don’t qualify for public or private coverage get comprehensive, medically necessary care. CarePartners serves residents of Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Waldo, and York counties. The typical CarePartners enrollee makes about $754 per month and is not eligible for private or public health insurance.
“CarePartners has allowed me to feel secure about medical issues that arise. When I need to see a doctor, the financial stress is eliminated,” explained an individual enrolled with the program.
CarePartners is made possible by the commitment of participating providers. The program is administered by Maine Medical Center in Portland, MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta and Waterville, LincolnHealth in Damariscotta, Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockland, and Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford and Sanford. Additional participating hospitals include Mercy Hospital in Portland, Inland Hospital in Waterville and Spring Harbor Hospital in Portland. Financial and technical assistance is provided to all sites by MaineHealth. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine donates third- party administrative service and Martin's Point informatics donates data analysis and report services.
"CarePartners is a great benefit for our patients who need support and can't afford their medications," said Laura Hill, FNP, family nurse practitioner at Nasson Health Care in Springvale.
Notable numbers from fifteen years of care:
- In the past 15 years, the CarePartners team and the program’s volunteer provider network have served more than 11,915 program enrollees.
- More than 41,289 individuals have received information or direct assistance with local, state and federal healthcare resources.
- 10 hospitals and more than 1,000 volunteer healthcare providers donated $90 million worth of care and services.
- Enrollees received more than $55 million worth of free medications via pharmaceutical companies.
- 4,649 individuals were transferred to health insurance coverage.
- 400 individuals were enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
CarePartners launched in 2001 as one of 10 sites of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Communities in Charge initiative and funded through an initial three-year grant. This initial funding has been augmented over the past 15 years with funds from the Maine Heath Access Foundation and other public and private funders, as well as MaineHealth and its member and affiliate hospitals.