Maine: @CoverME_gov ends 2022 Open Enrollment w/66.1K, up 10.6% y/y!
Over 66,000 Maine People Chose Affordable Health Plans for 2022 on CoverME.gov
- Plan selections for the first year of Maine’s State-based Health Insurance Marketplace outpaced previous year by more than 10 percent
AUGUSTA— The Mills Administration announced today that 66,095 Maine people selected plans for affordable health insurance for 2022 at CoverME.gov, Maine’s new Health Insurance Marketplace, an increase of more than 10 percent over the previous year.
At Governor Mills’ direction, Open Enrollment ended on January 15, 2022, giving Maine people an extra month to browse and enroll in quality, affordable health plans. During this first Open Enrollment Period as a State-based Marketplace, which began on November 1, 2021, an additional 6,357 Maine people selected plans, surpassing the 2021 Open Enrollment period and reversing declines in Marketplace plan selections since 2017.
Among the 66,095 Maine consumers who selected plans, 11,025 were new consumers who had no Marketplace coverage at the start of open enrollment, marking a 14 percent increase over 2021.
Thanks to additional funding available this year from the federal American Rescue Plan, 82% of Maine people who selected plans on CoverME.gov received financial assistance to help pay the cost of their premiums, and more consumers upgraded their level of coverage, reducing out-of-pocket health care costs.
“I am proud that Maine’s new State-based marketplace has helped contribute to a 10 percent increase in consumers choosing plans,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This great news is further proof that running our own marketplace leads to affordable, high-quality coverage for more Maine people. At a time when health insurance is more important than ever before, I am so glad that CoverME.gov was able to put Maine in the driver’s seat and give Maine people more control over their health insurance options.”
In fact, it's a 10.6% y/y increase: The 2021 OEP total in Maine was 59,738 QHP Selections.
“This successful inaugural year of CoverME.gov demonstrates that Maine is best positioned to connect the people of our state with high-quality, affordable health coverage,” said Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “Maine’s transition to a State-run marketplace means better consumer support for affordable health care for more than 66,000 Maine residents in 2022.”
"It is exciting to hear that so many more people in Maine are getting health care coverage through our new state-based marketplace,” said Rep. Denise Tepler, D-Topsham, House chair of the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services. “More than 80% of Mainers who are now enrolled in health care plans through CoverME.gov are receiving financial assistance in the form of advanced premium tax credits, and their average monthly cost is $179. While there is more work to be done to make sure all Mainers have affordable health care, this is good news indeed."
“We’ve known for a while that creating a health coverage portal tailored to Maine’s needs would be crucial in getting more people signed up. The numbers we’ve seen clearly show that effort to create a state-based system has paid off,” said Sen. Heather Sanborn, D-Portland, Senate Chair of the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee. “Tens of thousands of Mainers were able to go online and find the coverage that’s right for them during our extended Open Enrollment period. That’s definitely something worth celebrating.”
"This is great news. The numbers show that moving Maine to a state-based Marketplace has benefitted Maine people,” said Ann Woloson, Executive Director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. “More Mainers have been able to enroll in the health coverage they need through CoverME.gov and we applaud the Department of Health and Human Services for getting more Mainers covered.”
“The Maine Association of Health Underwriters is a key stakeholder and supporter of Maine’s State Based Marketplace, so we are excited to see this increase in plan selections,” said Kimberly Vance, President of the Maine Association of Health Underwriters. “MAHU members play a large role in both assisting people with choosing new plans and transitioning to the new platform. Many of us have experienced the initial launch of other state Marketplaces, so we know these transitions come with challenges, but CoverME.gov’s first Open Enrollment has been a success for Maine consumers. As we have stated from the beginning, we feel that it’s critical for all parties, consumers, providers, and insurers that Maine control the operation of its Marketplace, so we look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Office of the Health Insurance Marketplace to further improve the enrollment experience for the consumers we work with."
Plan selections provide a snapshot of activity by new and returning consumers who have selected a plan for 2022. “Plan selections” become “enrollments” once consumers have paid their first monthly premium to begin coverage. These numbers are subject to change as consumers may modify or cancel plans after their initial selection.
The transition to a state-based Marketplace allowed Maine to launch and oversee its own Marketplace, with greater flexibility to set Open Enrollment dates and Special Enrollment Periods, conduct marketing and outreach, and use state-specific data to best serve the population of Maine. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of the Health Insurance Marketplace (OHIM) ran its own marketing and outreach campaign, targeted to the people and communities of Maine. This included advertising on placements in diners, gas station displays, and bus stops among other activity.
Now that Open Enrollment has ended, only those experiencing qualifying life events, such as loss of employer-sponsored coverage or moving to Maine, can choose a plan through CoverME.gov until the next Open Enrollment Period for 2023 in the fall, unless they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. This year, for the first time, Maine will have two new Special Enrollment Periods: for people who become pregnant and people with income below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (about $19,000 for an individual and $39,750 for a family of four). These individuals can now enroll throughout the year at CoverME.gov, not just during Open Enrollment. People who are eligible for MaineCare or Cub Care may enroll at any time of the year.
Along with the state's expansion of MaineCare to more than 90,000 Maine people, CoverME.gov is at the heart of Maine's effort to ensure that people can see their doctor, afford their medications, and stay healthy. Governor Mills' Made for Maine Health Coverage Act – which passed the Legislature with a strong bipartisan majority – authorized DHHS to run a State-based Health Insurance Marketplace and made some of the most common medical visits less costly, as part of a larger plan to improve private health insurance for Maine people and small businesses.
The Department took the first step in the transition to a State-based Marketplace during the 2021 Open Enrollment Period (from November 1, 2020 to December 15, 2020), by launching a hybrid Federal-State Marketplace, following Maine's use of a fully Federal system since 2014. Maine received full approval to complete the transition to CoverME.gov in October.