Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Examining MaineCare’s Coverage Options Under the Affordable Care Act


This Brief was prepared by Erika Ziller and Trish Riley of the Muskie School of Public Service to inform an April 8, 2013 colloquium convened to explore options and implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Maine.

Highlights: In addition to increased Medicaid funding, in January 2014, the ACA will provide federally subsidized health care coverage for individuals with incomes up to 400% for Medicaid in a state, coverage will be subsidized by federally funded tax credits through health insurance exchanges, now known as the “Marketplace.” Those under 100% FPL are not eligible for Marketplace subsidies but could be eligible for Medicaid, depending upon state decisions.

Even if Maine does not choose to cover all those newly eligible under the ACA, beginning in 2014, MaineCare must extend eligibility for children aging out of foster care until they are 26, regardless of income. An estimated 46,000 uninsured individuals, nearly all of whom will be adults without children, would be newly eligible for Medicaid should Maine decide to participate in the ACA optional Medicaid coverage.

If Maine chooses not to participate in the ACA optional Medicaid program, the 14,000 uninsured childless adults with incomes between 100% and 138% FPL referenced above would be eligible to participate in subsidized coverage through the federal Marketplace, although there is disagreement over the affordability of these plans for this group. The 32,000 uninsured childless adults with incomes below 100% FPL would be ineligible for any subsidy through the Marketplace.

Continued coverage for currently eligible populations in Maine is uncertain. Maine must comply with a significant number of ACA provisions related MaineCare. These new requirements must be in place in all states, whether or not states extend eligibility in the Medicaid program or operate a health insurance Marketplace.

Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
March 20, 2013

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

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