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Mainers have one more day to enroll in health insurance plans effective Jan. 1

Gov. Janet Mills speaks Wednesday during a press conference on open enrollment in Maine’s state health insurance marketplace. She was joined by DHHS Commission Jeanne Lambrew (left) and Ann Woloson, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care.
Kevin Miller
/
Maine Public
Gov. Janet Mills speaks Wednesday during a press conference on open enrollment in Maine’s state health insurance marketplace. She was joined by DHHS Commission Jeanne Lambrew (left) and Ann Woloson, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care.

The Mills administration is reminding residents that Thursday night is the deadline to sign up for health coverage through the state's insurance marketplace for policies that will start with the New Year.

Maine state government launched its own health insurance marketplace last year as a way for eligible individuals to compare options and sign up for coverage made available through the federal Affordable Care Act. The open enrollment period for plans that start on Jan. 1 closes at the end of the day on Thursday. So Gov. Janet Mills urged individuals without health insurance to check out the plans on the state's website, CoverME.gov.

More than 80% of participants in Maine's state-based exchanges last year received financial assistance to help pay for coverage. And Mills said new federal changes mean even more Maine people are likely eligible for subsidies this year at a time when many families are struggling to pay for groceries, heating oil and electricity.

"This is an important thing too and can save you a lot of money on Jan. 1,” Mills said during a press conference with Consumers for Affordable Health Care, a nonprofit that helps Maine consumers navigate the enrollment process. “And, most importantly, make sure you and your family have health care so that if and when something does happen — and it happens to all of us, we all have health issues at some point in our lives — and you've got to be prepared and we want everyone to be covered."

Individuals who miss Thursday’s deadline can still enroll through Jan. 15 but those plans would not take effect until Feb. 1. After the Jan. 15 open enrollment deadline, individuals would need to have “special circumstances” — such as changing jobs or having a baby — in order to sign up for a plan during 2023.

Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services said that, so far, about 60,000 people have enrolled compared to a about 66,000 participants last year.

"We feel good about it. The reality is every year is a little bit new and different. There are different challenges that people have so we are trying to meet people where they are. But we feel cautiously optimistic that we are doing as well as we were last year at this time and that we can in that last month get to that same place or a similar place as we were last year," she said.

Maine's health exchange offers individual plans through four insurance providers: Anthem, Community Health Options, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Taro Health.