Maine will launch its own state health insurance marketplace in November, meaning people who buy Affordable Care Act insurance for 2022 will be buying it through a new state website.
Beginning November 1, individuals signing up for ACA insurance in Maine will go through the federal government’s coverme.gov website, rather than the federal government’s healthcare.gov website, where Maine residents have purchased Obamacare insurance since 2014 to have. All of the states of New England except New Hampshire were using state marketplaces instead of the federal marketplace. A total of 15 states have set up state-run marketplaces.
The federal government also approved new state marketplaces for Kentucky and New Mexico on Monday. The open enrollment period runs from November 1st to January 15th, 2022, but consumers must enroll by December 15th for coverage to begin on January 1st. Registrations satisfied with their current plans will be re-registered automatically.
Maine Health and Human Resources Officer Jeanne Lambrew said Maine “can tailor the registration process to meet the needs of our state.”
“The CoverME.gov marketplace will provide the people of Maine with better access to affordable health insurance options when open registration begins November 1st,” Lambrew said in a statement.
Mitchell Stein, a Maine-based independent health policy advisor, said the plans bought will be the same, but a state-run marketplace gives Maine some minor benefits.
“The state has more control and will be able to personalize public relations better,” said Stein. “Assuming everything works as intended, the website should be very transparent to the end user, but they buy the same plans.”
Ann Woloson, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care, a Maine-based health advisory group, said a state website will allow Maine to customize the website to meet the specific needs of the state.
“The state exchange can also better target its outreach activities to get information about coverage options. It can also ultimately work more efficiently with other government agencies, such as the Ministry of Labor, Corrections and Taxes, to connect people to the (marketplace) for help choosing options and signing up for coverage. “
Maine has been operating a hybrid form of marketplace since 2020, with the state taking over the marketing and outreach activities, but still leaving the registrations to Healthcare.gov.
Approximately 55,000 people in Maine have ACA marketplace insurance, which has decreased from approximately 70,000 in 2019, largely because Maine implemented the Medicaid expansion in 2019. The expansion resulted in approximately 85,000 people in Maine gaining access to Medicaid.
The Biden government added subsidies to ACA members through the American Rescue Plan bill, and now 25 percent of those enrolled have a monthly premium of $ 10 or less.
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