Portland, MAINE – Joined by Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Governor Janet Mills today applauded CMS’s recent approval of the Maine-based health insurance market – CoverME.gov – and announced that as of Friday, October 15, 2021 Residents of Maine can shop for plans using a new tool called “Compare Plans.”
The âCompare Plansâ tool was built with feedback from consumer experience in the field and makes it easier for Maine residents to browse and compare plans based on monthly premiums. Starting Friday, Maine residents can visit CoverME.gov and use the plan comparison to window shop without having to register or enter any personal information. When open enrollment begins on November 1, 2021, consumers will then be able to use the tool to help them enroll in a plan.
Governor Mills also announced that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) health insurance market office will increase funding for mariners to expand outreach and enrollment activities over the next registration period open. The ministry will increase funding for a statewide consumer helpline, training and technical assistance to $ 350,000 in 2022, from $ 200,000 in 2021.
Earlier this month, Governor Mills announced that CMS had approved the state’s request to operate a state-based marketplace. A state-based market allows Maine to tailor the market to meet the needs of Maine residents and tailor outreach and resources to uninsured communities. Maine was one of three states recently approved by CMS to operate its own market.
“Our state-based market puts Maine in the driver’s seat when it comes to healthcare,” Governor Janet Mills said. âFrom extending our open enrollment period to creating a special pregnancy-related enrollment period to developing a new tool to easily compare health plans, creating our own marketplace gives us greater flexibility to tailor and better meet the needs of people in Maine so that we can improve access to affordable, quality coverage. I am grateful to CMS for their endorsement and encourage people in Maine to visit CoverME.gov to shop for plans and sign up starting November 1st.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to working with states to ensure everyone can get the coverage and care they need and builds on the success of the Affordable Care Act and the US bailout.” . ” said CMS director Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. âCMS applauds states, like Maine, for taking important steps to expand access to comprehensive health care. “
“The new state-based marketplace allows us to deliver a consumer-centric, Maine-based system for finding and purchasing affordable private health insurance,” said Commissioner Lambrew. âThe state-based marketplace is at the heart of the Mills administration’s work to improve access to affordable health care. “
In addition to expanding access to MaineCare to more than 85,000 Maine residents, Governor Mills’ Made for Maine health coverage law – which passed the legislature with a strong bipartisan majority – authorized the Department of Health and Maine Social Services to operate an Insurance Marketplace and made some of the more common medical visits less expensive, as part of a larger plan to improve private health insurance for Maine residents and small businesses. .
The ministry has taken the first step in the transition to a state-based marketplace during the 2021 open enrollment period (November 1, 2020 to December 15, 2020), by launching a federal-state hybrid market, at following Maine’s use of a fully federal system since 2014.
For the open registration period of 2022 and for years to come, CoverME.gov will serve as a fully state-of-Maine-based marketplace platform. The ministry launched the website in October 2019 as a resource for Maine residents to explore affordable health insurance options. With the new state-based marketplace, CoverME.gov will expand to become the official platform where people in Maine can purchase and sign up for private coverage.
“We are excited about the administration’s excellent job in securing approval for the Maine State Marketplace – one of many steps Governor Mills has taken to improve access to health care. in Maine “, said Ann Woloson, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. âPeople needing health insurance this coming year have more affordable options. Monthly premium rates have fallen for tens of thousands of Mainers. CoverME.gov is an important tool that consumers can use to sort out options and purchase the coverage they need.
“I am pleased that Maine offers a state-based marketplace to help people enroll in affordable health care while being able to customize special enrollment periods to better meet the needs of citizens. of Maine ” said Patty Lovell, Market Navigator, West Maine Community Action. âThe increase in tax credits available through the US bailout reduced premiums from $ 50 to $ 330 for the people I have helped update their health care plans through the market. Affordable health insurance is important to everyone, especially in these extraordinary times. “
With a state-based marketplace, Maine can set its own open enrollment period, and to that end, under the direction of the governor, Maine has added an additional month this year – through January 15 rather than the December 15 – to give more to the people of Maine. time to subscribe to a health plan.
Additionally, among other benefits of a state-based market, Maine can make improvements to special enrollment periods, which are times when people in Maine can enroll for coverage outside of the open registration period. To that end, Maine is offering a new Special Pregnancy Enrollment Period, which will allow pregnant women without Marketplace coverage to obtain health coverage outside of the open enrollment period.
Currently, 15 other states operate a state-based market, including all other New England states except New Hampshire. The continued operation of the State of Maine marketplace is funded by user fees charged to health insurance companies who use the platform to sell their plans.
As in previous years, those who already have a Marketplace plan will automatically be re-enrolled in their current plan or the most similar offer from their health insurer. Consumers will receive information about the re-enrollment process directly from CoverME.gov in October. Individuals who apply through CoverME.gov and are eligible for MaineCare will have their application sent to MaineCare for review. Eligible people in Maine can enroll in MaineCare any time of the year.
Following the press conference, Governor Mills and Administrator Brooks-LaSure participated in a virtual panel discussion with Maine’s registration assistance organizations. These organizations, which are located statewide, work hand-in-hand with Maine residents to help them consider health insurance options and purchase coverage.