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Maine Enrollment Assisters Kick-Off Opening Day of Insurance Marketplace

Maine Enrollment Assisters Kick-Off Opening Day of Insurance Marketplace

Promoters of ACA Marketplace share good news about lower costs and urge consumers to act swiftly

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance Marketplace opened in 2013, Maine has seen its uninsured rate drop from 11.2% to 8.0%, meaning an additional 40,000 Mainers now have health insurance coverage. Maine’s success can be attributed in part to a seven-year partnership among health care providers, consumer advocates, non-profit foundations, social service agencies, and community coalitions. 

Today several of those partners, including the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) and Consumers for Affordable Health Care, joined certified enrollment assisters from The Opportunity Alliance to kick-off the 2017 Marketplace open enrollment period.  They encouraged Mainers to visit www.healthcare.gov in order to compare plans and get enrolled.

“The Marketplace is once again open!” declared Barbara Leonard, President & CEO of MeHAF. “Health insurance options are available and affordable for Maine individuals and families who have no other source of insurance coverage. But time is short, so it is critically important that Mainers review their options and sign up right away for quality coverage that can keep their families healthy.”

Kathryn Ende, the Consumer Assistance Program Manager at Consumers for Affordable Health Care, emphasized that cost-sharing subsidies and tax credits are still in place, meaning that very little has changed in terms of affordability for many Marketplace customers.

“Market uncertainty and the loss of cost-sharing reimbursements have led many insurance companies to increase premiums,” said Ende. “But this will have no impact on the bottom line for most consumers because subsidies and tax credits will shield them from premium increases.  In fact, Maine is one of many states in the Marketplace where consumers could see a net decrease in cost for lowest-cost bronze, silver, and gold plans. In some cases, health insurance coverage could literally cost zero dollars.  This is an exciting development and we hope Marketplace customers take full advantage of this opportunity to get covered, save money, and improve their health.”

The window for Marketplace customers to enroll in a plan will run from November 1st – December 15th.  Over 70,000 Mainers enrolled in Marketplace plans for 2017, many did so in the final days of open enrollment.

“The Open Enrollment period for 2018 coverage is short this year and closed most Sundays. We’re concerned that consumers may not know that they must enroll by December 15th.” said Michael Tarpinian, President & CEO of The Opportunity Alliance.

Many consumers have enrolled on their own at www.healthcare.gov and used the website seamlessly. But Amy March, a volunteer navigator with The Opportunity Alliance added, “We know that many consumers want and need help enrolling.  We are trained and ready to help consumers compare plans. Everyone must take a careful look at all the options open to them and not assume that last year’s plan is the same this year.”

As in years past, free local assistance will be available statewide to help consumers review all their insurance coverage options and enroll in a health insurance plan.  The Maine Lobsterman’s Association and Western Maine Community Action have received federal funding again this year to support teams of navigators and certified assisters, like those at The Opportunity Alliance, who are poised and ready to help consumers enroll in Marketplace plans.

MeHAF is also continuing its commitment to Marketplace outreach and enrollment with its enroll207.com public awareness campaign that connects consumers to www.healthcare.gov.  Local navigators, certified assisters, and insurance brokers are available statewide to assist consumers with signing up.

“Maine has consistently been one of the top states for enrollment,” added Ende.  “We believe that trend will continue, despite this year’s shorter timeframe, because Maine people really understand that getting covered has both an individual and community benefit. Healthy kids do better in school, healthy workers are more productive, and coverage supports our local doctors and hospitals.”

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About the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF): MeHAF is Maine’s largest private nonprofit health foundation dedicated to promoting access to quality health care, especially for those who are uninsured and underserved, and improving the health of everyone in Maine. To learn more about MeHAF, please visit www.mehaf.org.

About The Opportunity Alliance (TOA): The Opportunity Alliance is a non-profit that has 4 impact areas: education, health and wellness, community building, and economic supports.  They are the Community Action Agency for Cumberland County. TOA provides advocacy, leadership, and support to help individuals, families, and communities identify goals and address their needs. To learn more about TOA, please visit http://www.opportunityalliance.org.

 

Media Contact:
Morgan Hynd, Maine Health Access Foundation,
207-230-4105 or mhynd@mehaf.org
Meghan McInnis Doyon, The Opportunity Alliance,
207-523-5014 or Meghan.Doyon@opportunityalliance.org

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