Big changes are happening in Maine’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), also known as Cub Care, this fall. CHIP will cover even more children because eligibility has increased to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or $90,000 annually for a family of four. Maine families can also enroll their 19- and 20-year-olds in this coverage.

Anne Carney

CHIP coverage is now more affordable, due to elimination of premiums, co-pays and waiting periods. While the end of federal pandemic-related assistance has caused millions of families across the nation to experience a gap or lose MaineCare coverage altogether, expanded access to Maine’s CHIP is good news for our working families.

Historically Maine has had the highest rate of uninsured children in New England and the most restricted CHIP income eligibility in the region. We have been leaving millions in federal health care dollars on the table every year. In 2019, I began advocating to expand Maine’s CHIP program to use the full federal matching funds and cover more Maine kids. It just made sense. Rising insurance costs have outpaced wage increases for years.

Equally important, children who lack access to affordable health care and their families face significant risks. Uninsured kids often don’t have a primary care provider, have delayed health care and have unmet medical needs compared to children with insurance. Uninsured children with common childhood illnesses and injuries don’t receive the same level of care as insured children. They are at higher risk for preventable hospitalizations and missed diagnoses of serious health conditions. And families of uninsured children face unaffordable medical bills that increase financial insecurity.

Expanded CHIP coverage was funded in the supplemental budget toward the end of the 2022 legislative session. I am grateful to Gov. Janet Mills and my colleagues for supporting this vital measure, and to Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services for pursuing the federal approvals needed to implement the new coverage.

Outreach is underway to ensure that 100 percent of eligible Maine children get health care. The department is renewing children with existing CHIP coverage who will be eligible under the new income and age guidelines, as well as reaching out to families who lost CHIP when the federal pandemic assistance ended to let them know about the new guidelines help them re-enroll. And in preparation for open enrollment on Nov. 1,, Maine’s Health Insurance Marketplace, will reassess all children for MaineCare eligibility. These children will be automatically transferred to the Office for Family Independence for a determination and enrollment in MaineCare, if eligible. Additional outreach efforts are planned for the fall and winter.

CHIP covers essential medical services including visits to the doctor, medications, behavioral health services, in-patient and out-patient hospital visits, and x-rays and labs. To learn more about CHIP, please visit or call 1-855-797-4357 to speak with an eligibility specialist.

I am honored to serve as your state senator. If you have questions about enrolling in CHIP or, please contact me.

Anne Carney represents Maine Senate District 29, which consists of Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and part of Scarborough. She can be reached at 207-287-1515 or

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