Maine is launching its own state-run health insurance marketplace in November, which means people who buy Affordable Care Act 2022 insurance will purchase insurance through a new state website.
Starting November 1, people who buy ACA insurance in Maine will go through the coverme.gov website rather than the federal government’s Healthcare.gov website, where Maine residents have purchased Obamacare insurance since 2014. All of the New England states except New Hampshire used state markets rather than the federal market. A total of 15 states currently have state-run markets in place.
The federal government also approved new state markets for Kentucky and New Mexico on Monday. The open enrollment period is from November 1 to January 15, 2022, but consumers must register by December 15 for coverage to begin on January 1. Registrants who are satisfied with their current plans will automatically be re-enrolled.
Jeanne Lambrew, Maine’s health and social services commissioner, said Maine can “customize the registration process to meet the needs of our state.”
“The CoverME.gov Marketplace will give Maine residents better access to affordable health insurance options when open enrollment begins Nov. 1,” Lambrew said in a statement.
Mitchell Stein, an independent health policy consultant based in Maine, said the plans purchased will be the same, but having a state-run market gives Maine some minor advantages.
“The state has more control and will be in a better position to personalize outreach efforts,” Stein said. “Assuming everything works as expected, the website should be very transparent to the end user, but they will buy the same plans.”
Ann Woloson, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care, a Maine-based health advocacy group, said having a state-run website will allow Maine to tailor the website to specific state needs.
“State-level exchanges can also better target their outreach activities to disseminate information on coverage options. It may also, ultimately, work more effectively with other state agencies, such as the Department of Labor, Corrections, and Taxation, to connect people to the (market) for obtaining work. help sorting out options and registering for coverage.
As of 2020, Maine has operated a hybrid form of the marketplace, with the state taking over marketing and outreach activities, but still leaving listings to Healthcare.gov.
About 55,000 people in Maine have ACA market insurance, which is down from about 70,000 in 2019, largely because Maine implemented the Medicaid expansion in 2019. The expansion enabled approximately 85,000 people in Maine to access Medicaid.
The Biden administration has boosted grants for ACA enrollees through the American Rescue Plan bill, and now 25% of enrollees have a monthly premium of $ 10 or less.
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