I spent the past 5 years purchasing insurance in the Maine “marketplace”. It was complicated and unpleasant, with glitches, surprises, and increasing premiums for decreasing coverage. Perhaps CoverME.gov will be an improvement. But I’m not optimistic.
I am now enrolled in Medicare. I thought it would be simpler. Instead I received mountain of solicitations from insurance companies. How to choose? Like many of us, I cannot predict what my healthcare needs will be in the upcoming year. Do I want to risk a less expensive and less comprehensive plan, hoping I remain healthy?
One of every 3 dollars in our healthcare system goes to anything but healthcare. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that went into the development of the CoverME website are dollars that did not go to healthcare. The slick insurance brochures? Money spent on advertising that could have gone to healthcare.
A single universal system would be simpler and more affordable. Indeed, a study by MECEP in 2019 demonstrated how a state-based healthcare system could cover all Maine residents AND reduce healthcare spending by $1.5 billion annually.
It is long past time for us to overhaul our overpriced and complicated health care system. A group of Mainers are working on a ballot initiative, asking the Maine Legislature to implement a universal health care system for all Maine residents. Please sign their petition to put health care on the ballot in 2022. For more information, visit mainehealthcareaction.org
Dr Julie Pease has practiced psychiatry in Maine for over 30 years. She is a co-founder and member of the board of directors of Maine AllCare.