Maine Health Access Foundation (Augusta, ME)
The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) released a new data brief developed with the University of Southern Maine that presents a statistical analysis of uninsured non-elderly adults age 18-64 with no children and lower incomes, the population newly eligible for MaineCare through expansion. Drawing from five years of data from Maine’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the report addresses sociodemographic characteristics, health status, and access to care.
The survey indicates that those who are likely eligible for expanded MaineCare coverage are twice as likely as other nonelderly adults to be aged 55-64, and are more likely to be unmarried, and live in small or isolated regions of North and Downeast Maine. Only 11 percent of these individuals have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Thirty-three percent of these adults have not seen a doctor in the last year due to cost, and 20 percent have not received a routine checkup in five or more years. Overall, the newly eligible adults are more than three times as likely to self-report their health as fair or poor. The report also notes that this group is more likely than others to face issues with depression, obesity, smoking, and other chronic diseases. However, they are no more or less likely than other nonelderly adults to struggle with substance use disorders.
The report also highlights the health issues providers will likely have to focus on as new patients seek care. These include behavioral health services, tobacco treatment, and chronic disease prevention and management. Suggestions regarding broader system changes include expanding Maine’s rural health care workforce, pairing care with health system navigation, and purposeful outreach and relationship building by providers.
To read the full brief, click here.
Contact: Jeb Murphy