Dear Sun Spots: I find your column very informative. My question to you is why doesn’t the state of Maine allow out-of-state health insurance companies to come here to do business?

I retired last fall and I’m 62. I can’t receive Medicare yet and I make too much to receive MaineCare.

I’ve called many insurance companies, the ones within the state are too expensive and the ones out of state that had a policy I could afford and had coverage I wanted can’t do business here in Maine. It scares me not to have health insurance, why can’t our state government do something about this?

Provide us with affordable health coverage in state or allow other companies to come here to do business. Thank you. – Uninsured retiree, Lewiston.

Answer:
Sun Spots corresponded with Doug Dunbar, assistant to the commissioner for Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. He pointed out that the stimulus bill signed into law in February provides support for COBRA coverage and will cover 65 percent of the premium for up to nine months for workers who lose their jobs.

Other options he suggested were, if possible, signing up with your spouse’s plan and he also suggested contacting the state for information on your questions about private plans. He noted that with regard to insurance companies operating in Maine, that’s a business decision on the part of the insurance company owners and management.

For any questions, suggestions, complaints or other concerns, you should always feel welcome to contact the Bureau of Insurance. Dunbar provided the following contact information for you: 1-800-300-5000 (in Maine) or 624-8475; TTY for individuals with hearing problems, 1-888-577-6690; e-mail [email protected]; Web site, www.maine.gov/insurance.

Dear Sun Spots: An article in your paper stated the Maine Legislature was considering a bill to eliminate plastic bags at grocery stores.

Passing this bill would put all at risk. It’s a health issue. All individuals and households are not created equal. Many are not aware of the germ theory. Therefore, the probability of spreading harmful bacteria and/or insects increases 100 percent when bags are brought from home. – No Name, No Town.


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