Maine health insurance companies say they have won final approval for upcoming marketplace

LEWISTON — Officials from Maine Community Health Options and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield say their companies have both won final approval from the federal government to post health insurance plans on the upcoming Affordable Care Act marketplace.

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MCHO, based in Lewiston, is the state's first health insurance co-op, a nonprofit governed for and by members. Anthem is the state's largest insurance company and it has partnered with MaineHealth, the state's largest health-care organization, to offer its plans.

Any individual or small group can buy from the marketplace, also known as an exchange. However, individuals who have federal subsidies can only use them in the marketplace and some small businesses will only get a tax break if they buy through the marketplace.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance approved both MCHO and Anthem for the marketplace in July. Anthem's plans were controversial because they featured a narrow network that strictly limits which doctors and hospitals patients can use. Anthem has since asked to install a similar narrow network for individual insurance plans sold outside the marketplace as well.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must give final approval before plans can be listed on the upcoming marketplace.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance could not confirm federal approval late Monday. A CMS spokesperson said the federal agency has not yet released which plans have been OK'd for the marketplace.

But MCHO and Anthem officials both said Monday that their companies have received approval.

About 124,500 Mainers now have individual or small-group health insurance plans, and another 133,000 have no insurance. Those 257,500 people are the ones most likely to be affected by the marketplace, by choosing it for themselves or working for an employer who chooses it. However, Maine Bureau of Insurance officials believe far fewer people than that will go through the marketplace.

The marketplace is slated to start open enrollment Oct. 1. Insurance plans will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

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FRANK EARLEY's picture

I'd like yo know.....

How many pockets, the lobbyist's for Anthem and MaineHealth had to line, in order to get their incredibly, unfair and costly plan passed. I'm sure anyone who never plans to use health insurance will eat it up. What about the existing members who will be forced south for treatment. For them It' not only the cost of transportation, but for some the pain involved as well. Anyone buying from Anthem needs their head examined... OH, wait a minute, they probably couldn't afford that test.............

 's picture

The doctors who do that test

The doctors who do that test aren't part of Anthem's plan.

Eric  LeBlanc's picture

Isn't Obamacare wonderful

well isn't it?

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Obama care is fine..........

It's the insurance commissioners with a screw loose for allowing this travesty. With Obama care in place in Maine insurance companies wouldn't fare as well. It's insurance companies like Anthem who come in, change the rules in the middle of the game, screw the people already on their accounts and call that fair play? MaineHealth is a prime example of what Obama care is trying to stop. To them this is nothing more than a power struggle. It's between MaineHealth, and CMMC and their associats. The patients don't even come into the mix, their just numbers. That's whats wrong with the health care industry, "GREED". Nothing more.........


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