Michael from Auburn, Maine
My name is Michael and I live in Auburn. A few years ago I was laid off my job and going through a divorce and was very grateful that I had MaineCare and was able to get the counseling I needed to move my life forward. I had MaineCare coverage for about three and a half years, but it ended on January 1st. Even though I’m pretty healthy and don’t have prescriptions that I must fill each month, I’m really worried about what could happen now that I am without health care coverage.
I’m currently a third year student in the Social Work program at the University of Southern Maine. Though I have a long work history, it’s mostly in low wage general laborer type jobs and it became clear that I would never be financially stable unless I returned to school to get a degree. Between two part time jobs, I work about 20 hours per week in addition to going to school full time. Between that and my school loans I’m just barely able to get by. I have no income to put towards a health insurance policy. In fact, my income is too low to qualify for a Premium Tax Credit subsidy under the Affordable Care Act.
I feel it’s very short sighted of the State of Maine not to accept the federal funds to continue MaineCare coverage for people like me. When I graduate in a couple of years I fully expect to find work that will provide health care benefits or the income I would need to purchase coverage. However, until that happens, I’m just one accident or illness away from financial disaster.
I hope legislators in Maine will pass legislation to accept the federal money to expand MaineCare to people like me who are working hard to move out of poverty.