St. John Valley

Northern Maine Medical Center, Fish River Rural Health offer public insurance help Monday

FORT KENT, Maine — The complexity of health insurance plans is intimidating even to the savviest consumer of healthcare services. The resources available for assistance can also be mind boggling for the consumer to select from, with the availability of online resources, call centers, fact sheets, brochures and helplines all offering  consumer guidance. For individuals and families who are uninsured, navigating this complex system can be an overwhelming task to undertake.

For one-on-one assistance, NMMC Certified Application Counselors, Michelle Kelly and Shawna Larrabee, joined by Rita Haskins of Fish River Rural Health, are offering one more public session to assist consumers.

The session will be held Monday, Nov. 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the NMMC Medical Office Building, upper level. Counselors will be available all day for walk-ins; those who prefer to make an appointment may do so by calling (207) 834-1822.

As an additional resource to local healthcare insurance consumers, Northern Maine Medical Center offers resources on its website at

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), a comprehensive healthcare reform law enacted in 2010, created what is called a Health Insurance Marketplace to assist people shop for and enroll in affordable health insurance plans. It is also known as the Marketplace or exchange. The open enrollment period begins Nov. 1 and ends on Dec. 15.

Open enrollment is a yearly period of time when people can enroll for coverage that will begin Jan. 1 of the coming year. Consumers must apply during this period or face penalties, or worse, the inability to purchase insurance benefits. Existing customers can also change their coverage during this period.

For more information, call 834-1822.

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