Here’s recent news from the Governor’s Office and OCFS that FCC providers should be aware of ~
“The health of Maine people, the health of our economy, and the health of our future depend on three things: our ability to put the pandemic behind us, our ability to tackle the economic challenges immediately in front of us, and the ability to solve the longstanding, systemic problems that have held us back for decades,” said Governor Janet Mills. “These initial investments, which deliver crucial financial relief to small businesses and Maine people, are a down-payment on these efforts. When combined with our forthcoming investments to rebuild our workforce, expand access to child care and housing, and support new, innovative industries, we will build a stronger state and a better economy that provides people with good-paying jobs, the opportunity to put down roots, and an unmatched quality of life.”
Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program
The Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program provides premium payment relief to Maine small businesses who are enrolled in a fully-insured, community-rated small group comprehensive health insurance plan. A small group plan is a plan that covers 50 or fewer employees.
- The program is part of Governor Janet Mills’ Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan. It is paid for by $39 million in federal funding from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act.
- The program will run from November 1, 2021 to April 30, 2023, depending upon the continued availability of funding.
- All insurance carriers in Maine offering fully-insured small group plans in Maine are participating in this program. The insurers participating are Aetna, Anthem, CHO (Community Health Options), Harvard Pilgrim, and United Healthcare.
- More detailed information and sample carrier letters are provided in the linked documents below: Information Sheet – General, overall information about the program Carrier Questions & Answers – A running list of Q&As from the carriers Draft Letter from Insurers to Small Group Employers – Sample language for carriers to use in an initial communication with their small group plans about the requirements of the program Draft Notice from Insurers to Small Group Employers, to Include with Monthly Invoices – Sample language for carriers to include with monthly invoices sent to small group plans
Business owners should first contact their insurance carrier with any questions about the credit or their monthly invoices. Business owners may also contact the Bureau of Insurance at 1-800-300-5000 or by email: Insurance.PFR@Maine.gov, for additional information.
The Maine Jobs & Recovery Small Business Grant Program
The Governor announced today that her Administration is launching the Maine Jobs & Recovery Small Business Grant Program. The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development is putting forward $5 million of the $20 million allocated to the program in total for grants targeted at supporting capital intensive businesses that still need immediate short-term help to sustain operations.
More specifically, the $5 million will be put towards expense-based grant relief to help businesses and non-profits with significant expenses related to loans and interest they incurred in order to sustain operations. The loans must be in deferral as a direct result of the pandemic and the business must demonstrate at least 20 percent lost revenue in the year 2021. Applications for the program will open November 1, 2021.
The remaining $15 million will then be made available in April 2022 in order for businesses and non-profits to easily utilize tax returns to demonstrate financial impact of the pandemic on their businesses and, therefore, qualify for a funding based on need. This approach – stabilizing businesses most in need now followed by larger grants later on – was developed by DECD in conjunction with the business community.
This new program comes on top of the more than $273 million the Administration has already provided in Federal support to 5,224 businesses and non-profits during the pandemic.
In coming weeks, the Mills Administration will continue to announce more Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan investments to address known, systemic challenges that have constrained Maine’s ability to grow and thrive, with priority focus on investments to grow and develop Maine’s workforce.
With more than $300 million in planned workforce investments through education and skills training programs, workforce housing, childcare, worker attraction, and business supports, the Jobs Plan aims to make a measurable impact on Maine’s workforce trends and build an economy poised for future growth.
Workforce investments in the Jobs Plan include $105 million for workforce programs at Maine schools, community colleges, and universities; $50 million for affordable and workforce housing, $20 million to expand Pre-K and childcare infrastructure, and programs targeted directly at addressing pressing workforce needs in health care and clean energy fields.
Other investments from the Jobs Plan include critical infrastructure investments, such as expanding broadband, enhancing state parks, accelerating weatherization and energy efficiency projects, and upgrading municipal stormwater and drinking water projects.
Funding for the Jobs Plan is through the federal American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $4.5 billion in stimulus funds to Maine earlier this year.
Coordination of the Jobs Plan is led by the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services and the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, through a new Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan Office.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) would like to share a helpful resource for Child Care Providers to utilize when determining the total amount of reimbursement per child when factoring in OCFS’s current incentives.
Providers can find specific examples for their county in the linked Child Care Subsidy Program Reimbursement Initiatives. Here’s an example of what you will see per county: