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Health Options’ Annual Member Meeting Featured Maine CDC Director

Nov 25, 2020
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Community Health Options (Health Options) gathered for its 2020 Annual Member Meeting via webinar on November 19. Typically an in-person gathering, this year’s virtual meeting was made notable with Health Options’ having the honor of hosting Maine Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Director, Dr. Nirav Shah, as guest speaker.

Health Options’ CEO and President Kevin Lewis provided a review of newly elected board members, 2020 achievements and financial results, and welcomed Dr. Shah, who shared his perspective on leading Maine’s statewide response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, from early public health actions to small town outbreaks and the current resurgence.

Dr. Shah has gained local and national notoriety for his no-nonsense approach to educating Maine people about the risks and necessary precautions of living with COVID-19. In an interview with Scientific American, he said sharing hard facts and asking for simple calls to action, such as mask-wearing, helped keep infection rates low.

“In public health, our first and most important job is to get the people behind us,” said Dr. Shah.

Dr. Shah gave advice for planning safe holiday gatherings:

  • It’s best to postpone big holiday gatherings this year, or gather for socially-distanced outdoor activities, if you are able.
  • If you have college children or family members traveling from other parts of the country, a recommended timeline for testing is 72 hours before travel, followed by 14 days of quarantine.
  • Don’t overthink face masks: the best face mask has multiple layers, is washable, fits snugly and is designed to cover the nose and mouth.
  • With effective vaccines on the near horizon, we can look forward to more holiday gatherings in 2021, but must bear in mind that national vaccine distribution will be a massive effort and will take many months to reach the general population.

“It’s a critical time to be part of the healthcare community. From local pharmacies, to state and national healthcare policy makers, we are all in this together,” said Lewis. “Dr. Shah reminded us that each of our actions count when it comes to keeping our communities as safe and healthy as possible through the holidays and beyond. As a community-oriented non-profit healthcare insurance provider, working together is something we take seriously every day, especially now.”

Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe.

SEE ALSO

Were you unemployed at any time in 2021? If so, we have good news about health insurance coverage. If you are currently enrolled in Marketplace health insurance and received 2021 unemployment income, you are encouraged to update your Marketplace applications between July 1 and August 15 to maximize savings on coverage for the rest of the year.  This opportunity also opens a pathway for many people who are not current Marketplace consumers to obtain affordable, comprehensive health coverage.

Eligibility is Easier than You Think

We encourage you to visit our website at healthoptions.org to obtain a summary of your Marketplace eligibility for financial assistance in the form of a premium tax credit. Simply click on "Find a plan," select “Shop as an individual or family," and answer a few basic questions. Be sure to use the "Check my eligibility" button at the bottom of the first page before you leave.

I am eligible for a tax credit; what should I do?

If you are eligible for a tax credit, contact the Marketplace by calling (800) 318-2596 or visiting healthcare.gov.

If calling, have your current plan name ready and choose "Apply and report changes" from the phone menu. Let the representative know you are calling to take advantage of a premium tax credit. You will be asked a few questions, and your application will be updated.

If you are calling and do not have a Marketplace account, the representative will create an account for you.

If you are updating online as a returning visitor to healthcare.gov, click on the tab "Update/change plans to save." Review your application (even if there are no changes) to see your updated tax credit and reselect your current plan. By reselecting your plan, you will confirm the updated tax credit amount.  Please note, any plan changes or premium reductions may not be reflected in your invoice until the month after your revisions have been made at the Marketplace.

If you are a new visitor to healthcare.gov, click on the tab "Take the First Step to Apply," and answer the enrollment questions to find a plan that fits your needs.

Although healthcare.gov determines eligibility for a Marketplace plan and premium tax credits, we are here to help answer any questions you may have about our Marketplace plans. Please contact us at (855) 624-6463, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Act fast! August 15 will be here before we know it.