Friday is the last day to enroll to ensure coverage for January 2024
Belgrade, MAINE – During a visit to Belgrade Regional Health Center today, Governor Mills reminded Maine residents who lack affordable health coverage that Friday, December 15, 2023, is the deadline to sign up through CoverME.gov, Maine’s health insurance marketplace, for an affordable health plan that starts at the beginning of the new year.
The Governor urged Maine people to act to prevent gaps in coverage that could result in barriers to health care or unaffordable bills. Maine people who sign up by 11:59 p.m. Friday will have coverage effective on January 1, 2024.
Consumers who enroll after Friday’s deadline will miss coverage for January 2024 but – if they sign up by January 16 – will qualify for health insurance that takes effect on February 1, 2024.
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.
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 private coverage. At CoverME.gov, Maine people can compare 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.
“Enrolling by this Friday at CoverME.gov will ensure that your coverage takes effect January 1, 2024, preventing a gap in your health insurance,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I encourage Maine people to visit CoverME.gov to explore their options and spread the word to help make sure that no person in Maine goes without health insurance that could save their life.”
“Health coverage matters: it prevents an accident or illness from resulting in huge medical bills, and makes it possible to get lifesaving care,” said Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “If you are uninsured, don’t wait to check out your options.”
“CoverME.gov is a marketplace made for Maine by Mainers,” said Hilary Schneider, Director of the DHHS Office of the Health Insurance Marketplace, which runs CoverME.gov. “All plans sold through CoverME.gov provide comprehensive coverage, including preventive care at no cost to the consumer, as well as coverage of doctor’s visits, prescription medications, mental health care, emergencies, hospitalizations, and more. It is the trusted, one-stop shop to find and compare plans and get financial assistance to help pay for it. If you need health coverage, now is the time to enroll – online, over the phone, or with help from an insurance broker or certified enrollment assister in your community.”
“Through Maine’s health insurance marketplace, CoverME.gov, people can access comprehensive insurance that allows them to address their health needs with confidence,” said Dr. Amy Madden, a primary care physician in Belgrade who also serves as Medical Director for HealthReach Community Health Centers. “When health care is unaffordable, people delay seeking the care they need, which often results in worse health outcomes. It also means that when a health crisis hits, their household may accumulate bills they cannot afford to pay – adding financial stress on top of their health issues. HealthReach is committed to helping our communities access affordable health care. Our Connectors, who serve as Maine Enrollment Assisters, will work with anyone – both established patients and all Mainers new to HealthReach – to learn more about and enroll in the Marketplace insurance plan that is right for their budget.”
“Mainers who need health coverage have options and help is available to help sort through those options,” said Ann Woloson, Executive Director, Consumers for Affordable Health Care. “Most people who enroll in coverage through CoverME.gov are eligible for help paying their monthly premiums and many also receive help with other cost sharing, including deductibles and copayments. People we help enroll in coverage are often surprised and very pleased to find coverage through CoverME.gov that is affordable and that works for them. Don’t wait – sign up today.”
“I signed up for coverage this year as I was switching jobs and found an affordable plan that pays for my medications and I was even able to keep my primary care doctor,” said Jay Miller, a CoverME.gov consumer and freelance photographer from Newcastle. “With help from Consumers for Affordable Health Care, I found a plan that works for me and means I can make sure I have coverage myself.”
“Connecting people to coverage is rewarding,” said Rachel Collamore, Consumer Assistance Program Manager at Consumers for Affordable Health Care. “Enrollment Assisters like me hear stories about what it was like to go without coverage and what a relief it for those days to be over. Helping people apply for assistance paying for that coverage through CoverME.gov doubles that reward.”
Even people who could not afford coverage or did not qualify previously for discounts should check out CoverME.gov to see what assistance may be available in the upcoming year. Thousands of Maine people have and will continue to save hundreds of dollars, on average, for CoverME.gov health care premiums thanks to extra federal premium tax credits available 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.
Maine residents 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.
This is Maine’s third year of open enrollment through CoverME.gov, the State-run health insurance marketplace. The first open enrollment period run fully by Maine was in 2021, following the transition from the federal HealthCare.gov Marketplace Maine’s taking greater control of its marketplace, paired with Medicaid expansion, has helped keep Maine’s uninsured rate below the national average.
Newly released data show that, since open enrollment through CoverME.gov began on November 1, 2023, more than 59,000 Maine residents have selected plans for affordable health insurance in 2024. This includes nearly 4,500 new consumers, more than 14,000 returning consumers who have actively re-enrolled, and more than 40,000 who have automatically re-enrolled. Eighty percent have qualified for financial help through CoverME.gov.
This year, as last year, CoverME.gov is offering 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. The Consumers for Affordable Health Care HelpLine is available toll-free at 1–800–965–7476.
In 2022, the HealthReach Connector Team helped Mainers navigate CoverME.gov across more than 900 appointments. Anyone interested in reaching a HealthReach Connector is invited to call their main office at (800) 299–2460, or visit their website at www.HealthReach.org.
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.
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.