October 29, 2018
|Contact:||Judith Watters, Consumer Outreach Specialist|
The annual open enrollment period to purchase or change health insurance plans on the individual market starts this week, on November 1st, and ends December 15th.
Maine Bureau of Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa said that on average, rate increases are modest, and some rates have decreased, thanks to the re-launching of the Maine Guaranteed Access Reinsurance Association (MGARA) program for 2019, which received federal approval via a Section 1332 Innovation Waiver. The program will reduce risk for insurers, helping to keep overall rate increases lower and is likely to particularly assist those who have borne large increases in recent years without the aid of subsidies.
In 2019, consumers who buy their plans using subsidies will have an additional carrier to choose from, as Anthem will again be selling plans on the Marketplace. In 2018 Anthem only sold plans "off-exchange," which does not allow the use of premium subsidies. Maine Community Health Options and Harvard Pilgrim will continue to sell plans both on and off the Marketplace in 2019.
Superintendent Cioppa recommends that those buying insurance on the individual market start the process as soon as possible, to allow time to compare plans and choose the one that best suits their individual needs.
He shared these key points:
Compare all costs, not just the premiums, as well as networks, providers and drug formularies.
Look at deductibles, co-insurance, copays and maximum out of pocket amounts to determine the total cost of a plan, based on your health and anticipated use of services.
The Bureau's rate calculator at maine.gov/insurance makes it easy to find out which plans are available and their estimated rates. The calculator does NOT apply premium subsidies. Individuals who purchase plans through the Marketplace will be able to calculate their estimated premium subsidy at healthcare.gov.
Make sure your preferred providers and medications are covered by the specific plan you are considering. Bureau staff, ACA Navigators and Assistors, as well as Agents and Brokers can help with this.
Don't wait until the last minute - start now. Open Enrollment is just six weeks - Nov 1 - Dec 15.
Additional Information and Resources
Consumer Health Care Division: Bureau staff members are available to answer questions Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached by dialing 1-800-300-5000 or 207-624-8475 (TTY please use Maine Relay 711). Emailed questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Other sources of assistance: Find an insurance broker or agent, a Marketplace Navigator or Assister near you at healthcare.gov. Consumers can also contact the insurers directly to ask questions about covered services, providers, medications, and cost-sharing or to purchase unsubsidized plans.
Last Updated: October 29, 2018 4:07 PM