Maine Boosts Substance Use Treatment through Medicaid Expansion

December 2019 ~

Over 6,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Maine are now receiving treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) and other mental and behavioral health related issues, bringing the state’s total to 42,651 individuals enrolled in the state’s Medicaid system, MaineCare.

As of September 2019, more than 14,000 new enrollees had received mental health treatment through MaineCare and another 5,700 had been treated for SUD. In their most recent Expansion Impact report, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) shows those numbers have since increased to over 6,532 beneficiaries are now receiving various SUD treatment and services under MaineCare.

Under the previous administration, significant cuts were made to MaineCare which resulted in approximately 14,500 parents and 10,000 childless adults losing coverage. “Many of those people had mental health and substance use challenges,” said the director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services, Malory Shaughnessy. “We’ve seen them cycling through our jails, our prison system, and in and out of our emergency departments over these last few years, spiking the amount of money that we’re paying into those systems for care that’s not the best care for them.”

Maine adopted and implemented expansion on January 10, 2019, with coverage retroactive to July 2, 2018. In addition an increase in the number of people receiving treatment for substance use, the report shows that the state Medicaid expansion has allowed an additional 1,527 patients to receive breast cancer screenings, 2,611 have been treated for diabetes, 2,039 for hypertension treatments and 14,360 for mental health.

As of December 2019, 42,651 people are currently enrolled through the MaineCare expansion, including 35,031 adults without children and 7,620 parents and caretaker relatives.

Source(s): State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services; Beacon; Portland Press Herald; Maine Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services;