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Maine health insurance exchange

maine guide to health insurance

Maine reaches 138 percent of marketplace enrollment goal

April 21, 2014

The open enrollment period to purchase health insurance for 2014 through the marketplace has ended. People who get married or divorced, change jobs, have a child or experience another qualifying event may be eligible for a special enrollment period. Enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues throughout the year. You may be able to buy private insurance outside the marketplace. Individuals who don’t have health insurance that provides “minimum essential coverage” may have to pay a penalty: $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.

Open enrollment for 2015 coverage through the marketplace begins Nov. 15.

More than 25,000 Maine residents enrolled in private health plans between Oct. 1 and March 1. Maine is ahead of the federal government’s target for signups through five months of the initial open enrollment period. In addition to health plan enrollments, about 5,500 people qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Ninety percent of those selecting a health plan qualified for subsidies to help pay the cost of their premiums, compared to 83 percent nationally. The percentage of 18 to 34 year-olds signing up in Maine was among the lowest in the nation — just 19 percent compared to 25 percent nationally. Signups among that age group are considered vital to keeping insurance costs from jumping up in 2015 and beyond. Given the high average age in the state, a lower percentage of younger enrollees is not surprising.

Maine’s health insurance marketplace is operated by the federal government. Gov. Paul LePage announced the state’s decision against a state-run model in November 2012. In a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, LePage said the Affordable Care Act has “severe legal problems” and state-run exchanges will be “actually controlled” by the federal government. LePage’s administration did explore creating a state-run exchange. The governor appointed an advisory committee, and in September 2011 that committee recommended that Maine implement a state-run exchange. The committee also issued recommendations as to how the exchange should be structured and governed. However, Maine ultimately joined the Supreme Court case that attempted to overturn the Affordable Care Act, and the state legislature failed to pass exchange legislation in both 2011 and 2012.

Democrats in the Maine Legislature pushed for Medicaid expansion during the 2014 session. One bill included a provision to end Maine’s participation by 2017 when states must begin paying a small percentage of expansion’s costs and another provision that allowed the state to end the expansion if the federal government failed to follow through on the pledge to pay 100 percent of program costs for three years. However, Gov. LePage vetoed the bill. Another bill, passed on the last day of the regular session, would expand Medicaid for one year while seeking approval to pursue a “private option,” whereby federal funds would be used to help residents buy private health insurance through the marketplace in future years. About 70,000 people could gain health insurance coverage through the expansion.

Maine health insurance exchange links


State Exchange Profile: Maine
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Maine’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.

Maine Quality Forum

 Maine Bureau of Insurance – Federal Health Care Reform

ME health insurance exchange news

Maine legislature approves Medicaid expansion

Bangor Daily News — Maine lawmakers passed a bill to expand Medicaid for one year while…

State-by-state open enrollment extension details

Curious to see how your state is handling the open enrollment deadline?  Most states…

New Maine co-op trumping Wellpoint in marketplace enrollment

Bloomberg News — A start-up health plan, Maine Community Health Options, has captured…

Maine Republicans prefer marketplace to Medicaid expansion

Associated Press — While few Maine Republican legislators are fans of the health…

Maine physician association speak up for Medicaid expansion

WMTW — Members of the Maine Medical Association and other medical professional held a…

Maine legislators ask regulators to scrutinize hospital access — Eight York County legislators asked the Maine Bureau of Insurance…

Single-payer health care system under discussion in Maine

Portland Press Herald — Rep. Charles Priest has introduced a bill to create a…

Nineteen states have imposed stricter rules on exchange navigators

Nine states have refused to expand Medicaid and have also created rules that make it more…

No surprises: older Maine residents quicker to sign up for health insurance

Maine Sun Journal — A federal report confirmed what was widely expected: Those over 45…

Maine’s approach to the Affordable Care Act

Bangor Daily News — Maine refused to set up its own health insurance marketplace and is…

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Maine elected officials

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Let your Maine governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.

Maine Governor Paul LePage
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001
PHONE: 207-287-3531
FAX: 207-287-1034
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