Maine's social services praised as far better than New Hampshire's

DOVER, N.H. — Bree Messier has found everything she needs for her children through Maine's health care program.

The Berwick, Maine, resident moved from Somersworth in 2006 and says she remains in Maine for the health care coverage, with all three of her children currently on MaineCare.

Messier has a 13-year-old son, Brandyn, a 10-year-old girl, Keayra, and a 4-year-old son, Kaislyn. Her daughter, she said, is behind cognitively, her son suffers from suicidal ideation, and both have received helpful services through MaineCare.

"The services Maine provides for her are outstanding," Messier said of her daughter.

A counselor is provided through the school as part of a mental health program, which a child can use whether they are covered by MaineCare or another provider.

MaineCare also has provided Messier with a counselor who comes to her home to work with her son as well as someone who comes to her home to help her daughter if more work is needed in addition to school counseling.

"There is in-home support where you have a clinician that helps you deal and cope with difficult parental things with your children," Messier said.

Messier is also covered by MaineCare because she fits the guidelines for a family of four. The program covers physical health, dental and mental health.

When she was living in Somersworth, Messier recalls feeling as though she didn't get much help through the state. Both Brandyn and Keayra were covered by Healthy Kids, but Messier was unable to receive coverage unless she was pregnant, and the benefits for her children were not as extensive, she said.

Maine "seems to have a lot more services," she said.

Each state contracts for different benefits packages, and states have some flexibility in how much funding they put into Medicaid, what they choose to cover and what eligibility they would like to institute, according to Holly Connor, director of Application Assistance at New Hampshire Healthy Kids.

Healthy Kids administers a silver plan and a buy-in plan. The Medicaid program -- the Gold Plan -- is handled through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Each plan has income-related eligibility requirements based on the federal poverty level. Those on the Silver Plan fall between 186 to 300 percent of the poverty level and those in the buy-in plan fall between 300 and 400 percent of the poverty level. The buy-in is a non-subsidized program in which the family pays the whole premium.

"It's all about eligibility and whether they meet that eligibility," said Gail Garceau, president and CEO of Healthy Kids. "Children that are deemed eligible for a specific program go into the program."

Garceau explained that Healthy Kids provides access to affordable, quality health care and signs children up for coverage. Once they're signed up, Healthy Kids defers the family to their vendor, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, for specific questions about benefits.

MaineCare, that state's Medicaid program, requires a poverty level of up to 200 percent of the federal level, which works out to about $44,000 in annual income for a family of four.

MaineCare covers children up to the age of 18 and adults with children who are eligible for the program.

John Martins, communications director for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, said Maine's poverty level requirements are on the high end compared to other states, adding that Gov. Paul LePage is hoping to put Maine's guidelines more in line with the federal requirements.

"Our program is probably more generous than some others," Martins said.

MaineCare covers medically necessary services, including for children with intellectual disabilities, in the most appropriate settings, according to Sarah Stewart, acting director of Program Management at the Maine DHHS.

Services in a school setting include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavioral health services and services known as habilitation services for children with cognitive impairments and functional limitations, which are only available for children who have had a comprehensive assessment, with such services authorized before they are administered.

The recent budgets set for New Hampshire and Maine didn't make many changes to the health care programs.

Garceau said one thing that has affected Healthy Kids is Gov. John Lynch's announcement that the state would no longer be contracting with Healthy Kids to administer the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which is the same as the Silver Plan. Those children in the Silver Plan would be transferred to Medicaid Managed Care.

Garceau said those children would still have coverage, but the major difference would be they would no longer have access to the same health care plans with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Delta Dental.

"Will there be difficulty accessing the same care?" she asked, adding Medicaid Managed Care will come into effect July 2012, at which time "tens of thousands" of children covered by Healthy Kids will no longer be able to use that program. "We do outreach, education and assistance, renewal and retention. One would hope the state would do its customer service."

Martins said most proposed cuts to Medicaid were shot down in the Legislature, and overall, MaineCare came out of the budget process "really well."

Messier said she does have concerns about whether eligibility requirements will change in Maine, as the health care has been a top benefit of her having moved to the state.

"New Hampshire should follow Maine, because the services are great," she said.

To see more of Foster's Daily Democrat or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.fosters.com/.
Copyright (c) 2011, Foster's Daily Democrat, Dover, N.H.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Comments

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

Sorry, Ms. Messier, But....

Messier said she does have concerns about whether eligibility requirements will change in Maine, as the health care has been a top benefit of her having moved to the state.

"New Hampshire should follow Maine, because the services are great," she said.

*************

Sorry, Ms. Messier, but if Maine fiscal conservatives have their way, those benefits are going to decrease. They have to decrease, because our state is broke. Largely because we are supporting far too many people who do move here precisely because of the benefits.

New Hampshire is better off financially BECAUSE they don't have Cadillac benefit plans for anyone and everyone.

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

Tattoos, But no Healthcare?

Is this the young lady in question?

http://www.myspace.com/robsdallascowgirl/blog/498298041

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

According to the Myspace

According to the Myspace page, it is the Bree Messier in the article.

Does MaineCare cover after-care for tattoo patients?

http://www.myspace.com/robsdallascowgirl/blog/498298041

Gary Ham's picture

Able bodied 20 year olds

This state will even allow able bodied 20 year old men to live off welfare. Look at the case of Bob Ryder (the murderer of Danita Brown). He had enough cash to pay $200 to pay a prostitute for her service! After he killed her, he used his food stamp money to buy baking soda to cover her body with!!!

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Thank You

Thank You for advertising that Maine's retired taxpayers are happy to support freeloaders total health care while they can't afford to have dental care for themselves. I'm sure a lot of others agree with me. Am I bitter you bet you sweet bippie I am. For over thirty years I worked an average of fifty hours a week, plus my other employment until I retired. Now I get to pay income tax on my social security so others can live on the system getting benefits that I can't afford. Dan feel free to explain to me that this is fair and just.

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

My Thoughts Exactly

Thank you - precisely what I thought when I read the article. Anyone saying that it "doesn't happen" is either kidding themselves, or willfully ignoring the truth.

Larry Turbide's picture

Why do you think that so many

Why do you think that so many "from away" have moved into the state lately? They find out that it's easy pickings here in Maine (especially in Lewiston) and they let all of their friends and family know.....and we end up footing the bill.

Jan Bachelder's picture

Verified User Working

I really expected much more reaction to this story. I am personally so APPALLED that I can't even begin to put my frustration into words. I guess I'll just keep getting up every day and going to work so that I can continue to take care of this womans children. I will also continue to pay the outrageous premiums for my own health insurance and for the doctors bills for his medical conditions. No problem. Really, I don't mind. Would it actually matter if I did?

RONALD RIML's picture

Jan - Simply because you're getting screwed by.....

the Insurance Industry is no justification for wishing the same 'Hex' visited on everyone else.

I'd rather there be a single payer system and my taxes increased to support it.

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

Fine - as long as everybody

Fine - as long as everybody has to pay at least something in return for the program. Otherwise, the situation described in the article is precisely what we all end up subsidizing.

John Clement's picture

I think you missed the point.

I think you missed the point. why should I be forced to pay for anyone else's life? And don't give me that crap about how do I know what her situation is. I will bet you $1,000 payable to any charity of the winners choice that she is a lifetime member of the welfare class. She is not entitled to the sweat of my labor. You want to pay higher taxes go right ahead, don't include me in your half-baked socialist schemes.

RONALD RIML's picture

I got your point all right

And no doubt the Almighty did.

It's really gonna suck to be you.......

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

How Mature and Civil

Are you always this mature and civil, or is this a special occasion?

RONALD RIML's picture

Naran, you can't just come wading in here

and start using your husband's lines without attribution.

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

Mature, Civil, AND ....

....boorish.

"Husband's lines"? Sexist and patronizing, much?

RONALD RIML's picture

Sexist and patronizing???

Not nearly in your league, My Dear.

John Clement's picture

as someone who paid taxes in

as someone who paid taxes in Maine for decades, you're welcome. what's that? you didn't say thank you? I didn't think so.

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

http://www.facebook.com/mymom

http://www.facebook.com/mymommyisanangel2007?ref=ts

You're also paying for her college education, and probably housing, food stamps, and every other benefit going, including vehicle and childcare expenses.

RONALD RIML's picture

Just as we're paying taxes for Corporate 'Freeloaders'

Swilling at the Taxpayers Trough.

RONALD RIML's picture

Au Contraire

You've obviously haven't been paying attention, Robert. Again - you reveal that you know not what you speak. But that hardly surprises anyone.

A boom in corporate profits, a bust in jobs, wages

By PAUL WISEMAN

updated 7/22/2011 4:55:44 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Strong second-quarter earnings from McDonald's, General Electric and Caterpillar on Friday are just the latest proof that booming profits have allowed Corporate America to leave the Great Recession far behind.

But millions of ordinary Americans are stranded in a labor market that looks like it's still in recession. Unemployment is stuck at 9.2 percent, two years into what economists call a recovery. Job growth has been slow and wages stagnant.

"I've never seen labor markets this weak in 35 years of research," says Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.
Wages and salaries accounted for just 1 percent of economic growth in the first 18 months after economists declared that the recession had ended in June 2009, according to Sum and other Northeastern researchers.

In the same period after the 2001 recession, wages and salaries accounted for 15 percent. They were 50 percent after the 1991-92 recession and 25 percent after the 1981-82 recession.

Corporate profits, by contrast, accounted for an unprecedented 88 percent of economic growth during those first 18 months. That's compared with 53 percent after the 2001 recession, nothing after the 1991-92 recession and 28 percent after the 1981-82 recession."

... Link provided for entire article......

RONALD RIML's picture

I've been there.....

Robert writes: "you might want to get out and see whats becoming of all the jobs"

I've been to that part of the world where all the those jobs have been shipped off to, Robert - while you just sat back here on your Momma's lap in the U.S.

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