As executive director of the Maine Access Immigrant Network, I watch people from the immigrant community come in every day to get help with signing up for health insurance and understanding how to use it. Our community health workers speak their languages (Arabic, French and Somali) and are trained, certified, in-person assisters ready to help.

We help people with the health insurance marketplace, and we tell them about preventive services. This engages people to manage their health instead of suffering with a treatable condition or going for an unnecessary visit to a hospital emergency department.

Open enrollment to sign up for an affordable health plan for 2015 through the marketplace will end soon – Feb. 15 is the last day to enroll! If you know or work with people from the immigrant community, let them know that there is special help for them!

Go to and use the “Find Free Help” section to locate free, confidential help by phone or in person from certified assisters all over Maine. Having a quality health plan sure beats going without health insurance, and it keeps you from having to pay a tax penalty for 2015.

Everyone deserves to have health insurance. Hurry! It’s easy! It’s affordable!

Mohamud Barre

executive director, Maine Access Immigrant Network