Health Law a Lifeline for Some Maine Lobstermen
“The response from our outreach has been very, very good,” said Brian Delaney, a spokesman for Fishing Partnership Support Services, an organization working in Maine that was responsible for reducing the percentage of uninsured fishermen in Massachusetts from 40 to 10 in just one year more than a decade ago.
In Maine, the split between those signing up and those who aren’t is roughly the same as in other industries and other parts of the country. Older, sicker workers with families are paying for insurance plans, while younger lobstermen tend to go without, as are those who said cost was a concern, according to interviews with more than a dozen lobstermen and advocates who’ve worked with hundreds more.
Some lobstermen found they qualified for improved plans.
“It’s better than any insurance that I’ve have in the last 30 years,” said Arnold Gamage, a 61-year-old lobsterman from South Bristol who stopped paying for health insurance last year because, with an estimated annual salary of $60,000, he could no longer afford a plan that covered heart medication he needs.
His new plan, through one of the two providers on Maine’s insurance marketplace, costs $480 a month, compared with the $780 he paid before. The deductible for him and his wife was cut in half, to $5,000.