LIVERMORE FALLS — If Livermore Falls voters OK a move from Androscoggin County to Franklin County in the Nov. 5 referendum, the Medicare benefits for some residents could be affected.

“I want to make sure the property taxes address my cost in health insurance,” said resident Ron Chadwick. He has heard from other people who feel the same way he does, he said.

Under the health care plan offered by Martin’s Point Health Care, a $0 plan premium for the Prime Plan is offered in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Sagadahoc and York counties. It is $54 for all other counties in Maine.

Anthony Arruda, an insurance adviser with Senior Planning Associates in Farmington, noted that there are some programs available in Androscoggin County offered by various insurance companies with a $0 premium that may not be available in Franklin County.

“It’s best for individuals to research their own plans and to call an insurance adviser and check on what’s best for them,” he said.

When asked about why some companies offered the $0 premium in some counties and not others, Arruda said he believed it was calculated through the percentage of senior citizens living in a county and hospital costs.

“There’s just more people living down there (in Androscoggin County),” he noted.

Arruda said he had examined health care offered through the Affordable Health Care Act and could find no difference in prices between Androscoggin and Franklin counties.

According to selectmen and Town Manager Kristal Flagg, the advantages of joining Franklin County include being part of the same county that the local school district, RSU 73, is in.

Also, town officials have noted in prior meetings that being a member of Franklin County makes more sense because it is more central to Livermore Falls than Franklin County. Police would have fewer miles to drive for court proceedings and the ambulance service that responds to Livermore Falls comes from the Franklin County seat of Farmington.

County taxes are also expected to be less.

Maine House District 81 Rep. Gary Knight, R-Livermore Falls, said he heard the same concerns that Chadwick had expressed from several individuals who had contacted him. As of Tuesday, he had called insurance companies throughout the U.S. trying to find out how a change to Franklin County would affect people’s health insurance rates.

“No one understands why there’s a problem,” he said. “I can’t find anyone who can give me any answers.”

Even with the possible loss of some insurance benefits, Knight believed that changing counties would be best for Livermore Falls.

“When you add up all the ramifications, Livermore Falls belongs in Franklin County,” he said. “It’s illogical to be part of a county without a voice. It would be a lot less expensive as far as town management.

“I wouldn’t vote differently just for that one (health care) issue,” he said.


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