More Maine people than ever will be eligible for help paying for Marketplace insurance in 2023
AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that Maine people can now visit CoverME.gov, Maine's Health Insurance Marketplace, to shop for and select affordable health insurance plans for 2023 during the Open Enrollment Period that kicks off today, November 1, 2022.
At CoverME.gov, Maine people can compare private plans, apply for financial assistance, and enroll in a 2023 health plan. Health plans offered on CoverME.gov provide quality, comprehensive insurance that protects consumers if they have an accident or major illness and fully pays for preventive screenings. This year, Maine people can take advantage of additional federal financial assistance that makes insurance more affordable than ever.
“Having health insurance saves lives. That’s why since my first day in office, I have fought to make health care more accessible and more affordable for all Maine people,” said Governor Mills. “On CoverME.gov, Maine people can get the health insurance they need to see a doctor, afford medications, and receive preventive care, keeping them and their families healthy. I encourage everyone in our state who needs health insurance to visit the site today to see what options are available to you.”
“We encourage Maine people who need affordable health insurance to visit CoverME.gov starting today,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “As a result of federal policy changes, more Maine individuals and families than ever will qualify for help paying for premiums and out-of-pocket costs. We stand ready to assist anyone looking for health coverage in finding a plan that works for them.”
In 2022, more than 80 percent of people shopping at CoverME.gov qualified for help paying for health insurance. In 2023, thanks to the three-year extension of additional assistance provided by the American Rescue Plan, nationwide, 13 million Americans will save an average of $800 per year on their health insurance, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Four out of five customers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less after subsidies.
In addition, a new federal rule fixing the so-called “family glitch” means that more family members of Maine workers offered unaffordable job-based insurance will be eligible for financial assistance through CoverME.gov in 2023. Even those who were ineligible in the past should check out CoverME.gov to see what assistance may be available in the upcoming year.
This is Maine’s second year of open enrollment through CoverME.gov, the State-run health insurance marketplace. From 2014 through 2019, the Health Insurance Marketplace in Maine was fully run by the federal government. In 2020, it was a shared responsibility between Maine and the federal government. After the first open enrollment period run fully by Maine in 2021, recent enrollment declines were reversed. Maine’s taking greater control of its marketplace, paired with Medicaid expansion, led the state to have the largest decline in its uninsured rate among all states in the nation in recent years.
Open enrollment runs from today, November 1, through January 15, 2023. The enrollment deadline for coverage beginning January 1, 2023, is December 15, 2022. Consumers who enroll between December 16 and January 15 will have coverage beginning February 1. After January 15, only individuals and families that qualify for special enrollment periods can sign up for 2023 private health insurance coverage.
This year, CoverME.gov will offer individual plans from Anthem, Community Health Options, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Taro Health. Help is available for consumers looking to find the plan that meets their needs and budget. Visit coverme.gov/localhelp or call (866) 636-0355/TTY 711 (for languages other than English, choose option 4) for information.
“CoverME.gov provides Mainers with user friendly information about health coverage, including how much help they can get paying their monthly premiums, whether their provider is in network, and if they may be eligible for help with cost sharing like copayments and deductibles,” said Ann Woloson, Executive Director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. “Maine consumers are fortunate to have a good tool and so many resources available to them to help understand their options and enroll in coverage.”
“This is the second year Maine has enrolled individuals with affordable health care coverage through CoverME.gov,” said Patty Lovell, Health Care Navigator with Western Maine Community Action. “I'm excited for the beginning of Open enrollment. It's an opportunity for individuals to secure affordable health insurance for the upcoming year and update their current application to ensure they are getting the most out of their health insurance to meet their individual medical needs and the best subsidy for their household. New this year is increased eligibility for financial help through a fix to the family glitch. I'm excited for the WMCA Consortium Navigators to support people statewide with enrollment assistance in person, by phone, or online."
CoverME.gov was created as Maine’s State-run marketplace as a result of the Made for Maine Health Coverage Act, which Governor Mills signed into law in 2020 following its unanimous passage by the Maine State Legislature. During CoverME.gov’s first Open Enrollment period in 2021-2022, more than 66,000 Maine people signed up for 2022 coverage, an increase of more than 10 percent from 2021 and reversing declines in Marketplace plan selections since 2017. Maine’s enrollment performance in the last year was tied for the fourth highest (PDF) percent increase in enrollment of all state-based Marketplaces.
Consumers who already have a plan through CoverME.gov will be automatically re-enrolled in their current plan or the most similar offering from their health insurance carrier. Still, DHHS encourages people currently signed up through CoverME.gov to check out new plans and update their family and income information, as new financial assistance may offer more affordable coverage that best meets their needs. With the Plan Compare tool at CoverME.gov/get-started/compare-plans, consumers can evaluate available private health insurance plans and estimate their costs before they sign up for an account or complete a full application. The tool also allows consumers to check whether their preferred health care providers are included in each plan’s network, and to view information about coverage and out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.
People who apply through CoverME.gov who are eligible for MaineCare will have their application sent to MaineCare for review. Eligible Maine people can enroll in MaineCare at any time of year.
CoverME.gov is part of Governor Mills’ successful efforts to ensure Maine people have access to health insurance, including:
Expanding Medicaid: Medicaid expansion was approved overwhelmingly by Maine people in 2017 at the ballot box. After being blocked by the previous administration, implementing expansion was Governor Mills’ first official act as Governor and was her Administration’s first step in improving health care for Maine people. The federal government pays 90 percent of the cost of this coverage, which has supported hospitals’ cost of caring for patients that were previously uninsured, a move that has been especially important during the pandemic.
Putting Affordable Care Act Protections into State Law: In 2019, just weeks after expanding Medicaid, Governor Mills also signed into law bipartisan legislation to codify insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions, ensuring that Maine people with cancer, asthma, or other chronic conditions don’t get charged more or denied private coverage altogether from insurance companies regulated by the state.
Making Health Insurance More Affordable for Small Businesses: Thanks to a bill Governor Mills proposed and signed into law, small businesses will see their first annual average reduction in health insurance premiums since at least 2001, while average small group premiums in many other northeast states will increase. The Governor has also launched the Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program that lowers the cost of monthly health insurance premiums for small businesses and their employees. It has saved more than $20 million for 5,764 small businesses in Maine and 46,348 Maine people – employees and their families – as of June 2022.