As Open Enrollment launches today, tens of thousands of Mainers qualify for help to pay their monthly premiums
AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that Maine people can now visit CoverME.gov to shop for and enroll in 2024 coverage that fits their needs at a price that works during the Open Enrollment Period that kicks off today, November 1, 2023.
At CoverME.gov, Maine's Health Insurance Marketplace, Maine people can compare private plans, apply for financial savings, and enroll in a 2024 health or dental insurance plan. All 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 continue to take advantage of additional federal financial assistance that makes insurance more affordable.
“We encourage Maine people who need affordable health insurance to visit CoverME.gov starting today,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “Health insurance is critical to protecting physical and financial health from life’s unexpected turns, and to getting and staying healthy over the long term. We stand ready to assist anyone looking for health coverage in finding a plan that works for them.”
Thousands of Maine people have saved and will continue to save hundreds of dollars on average on their CoverME.gov health care premiums due to enhanced premium tax credits extended through 2025. In 2023, 4 out of 5 people enrolled in CoverME.gov coverage qualified for help to pay for health insurance, with an average reduction in premium costs of $493. Some members pay less than $10 a month.
Those with income over $58,320 for an individual and $120,000 for a family of four may benefit from extra financial assistance for 2024 and are encouraged to apply on CoverME.gov to see if they qualify. This extra assistance particularly benefits older Mainers and rural Mainers who often face higher premiums than others.
Even those who could not afford coverage or did not qualify previously should check out CoverME.gov to see what assistance may be available in the upcoming year. Those who already have coverage through CoverME.gov will be automatically enrolled in the plan that most closely matches their current plan, unless they take action during open enrollment. Still, DHHS encourages those members to go to CoverME.gov to review and compare plans to make sure the plan they currently have is the best plan in terms of their health care needs and budget.
“CoverME.gov offers quality, affordable coverage for doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, mental health, emergencies and hospitalizations,” said Hilary Schneider, Director of the DHHS Office of the Health Insurance Marketplace, which runs CoverME.gov. “If you, or a friend, neighbor or family member don’t have health or dental coverage, now is the time to go to CoverME.gov or call 1-866-636-0355 to shop for coverage.”
This is Maine’s third year of open enrollment through CoverME.gov, the State-run health insurance marketplace. After the first open enrollment period run fully by Maine in 2021 following the transition from the federal HealthCare.gov Marketplace, enrollment declines were reversed. Maine’s taking greater control of its marketplace, paired with Medicaid expansion, has helped keep Maine’s uninsured rate below the national average. In 2022, more than 60,000 Mainers enrolled in health coverage for 2023 through CoverME.gov.
Open enrollment runs from today, November 1, through January 16, 2024. The enrollment deadline for coverage beginning January 1, 2024, is December 15, 2023. Consumers who enroll between December 16 and January 16 will have coverage beginning February 1. After January 16, only individuals and families that qualify for special enrollment periods – such as a result of losing insurance through a job or MaineCare, a change in marital status, or having a baby -- can sign up for 2024 private health insurance coverage.
This year, CoverME.gov will offer individual or family health plans from Anthem, Community Health Options, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Taro Health. CoverME.gov offers dental plans from Anthem and Northeast Delta Dental. Help is available for consumers looking to find the plan that fits their needs at a price that works for their budget. Visit coverme.gov/localhelp or call (866) 636-0355/TTY 711 (for languages other than English, choose option 4) for information.
“Mainers who need coverage can find information about plans that will work best for their health care needs at CoverME.gov, including how much help they can get paying monthly premiums. Many Mainers are also eligible for help with copays and deductibles,” said Ann Woloson, Executive Director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. “CoverME.gov is user-friendly and great resource for anyone who needs information about coverage options and enrolling in a plan. 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 third 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. I'm excited for the WMCA Consortium Navigators to support people statewide with enrollment assistance in person, by phone, or online."
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.
CoverME.gov is a one-stop shop for health care coverage and the only place Mainers can get financial assistance to reduce out-of-pocket costs for coverage. 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.
Along with the state's expansion of MaineCare to more than 100,000 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. In 2019, 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.