LEWISTON — Almost three-quarters of Mainers signing up for insurance on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace are doing so with a Lewiston-based company, Maine Community Health Options.

Between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, the HealthCare.gov website hosted 1,747 Mainers who signed up for plans, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. An estimated 73 percent — nearly 1,300 — signed with the Lewiston nonprofit company, spokesman Michael Gendreaux said.

Only one other company, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, sells insurance to Mainers who seek coverage at the website.

An Anthem spokesman declined to confirm how many sign-ups they have had. However, people from both companies said they had seen increases in the past three weeks, since those numbers were released.

“As issues with both the front and back end of the federal HealthCare.gov website continue to be resolved, we have seen a significant increase in enrollment since the last enrollment report,” Anthem spokesman Rory Sheehan said. “In the days and weeks ahead, our teams are ready to serve existing and new members.”

So far, the numbers show that people like Maine Community Health Options, Gendreaux said.


“Because we’re local, because we’re Maine-based, because we’re nonprofit, because people feel our plans are affordable, it’s resonating with people,” he said.

It may be too early to draw many conclusions, suggested Doug Dunbar, spokesman for the Maine Bureau of Insurance.

“Because the marketplace process is new, and has experienced problems, it is difficult to know what should be expected at this point, in terms of the number of people enrolling for coverage or which insurance companies and plans consumers would select,” he said.

So far, MCHO is pleased.

“The velocity of calls we’re getting and the Web traffic we’re seeing continue to increase,” Gendreaux said. He compared MCHO to a credit union, particularly since the board will soon be led by its subscribers.

The new company is well-funded.

MCHO received a $62.1 million loan from the federal government, with $7.1 million earmarked for start-up, and $55 million for reserves and to show solvency for its state license. It has also received private loans and a $300,000 grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation.


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