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Health Care Reform Updates

April 28, 2014

Federal Health Marketplace Closed March 31, 2014

The Federal Health Marketplace closed March 31, 2014, with many people still waiting to confirm their applications were accepted. The Department of Health and Human Services announced that people who had started the application process by the deadline would be accepted and given additional time to complete the process. High volumes on the Healthcare.gov website caused multiple errors, as many that procrastinated were trying to enroll before the deadline.

The administration announced enrollment in the marketplace nationally of seven million. Here in Maine, the enrollment is listed at twenty thousand. The new Lewiston based cooperative, Maine Community Health Options, has reported they have enrolled 80 percent of the new members. They attribute that to their inclusive network of providers and engagement  of members. The other insurance carrier in the Maine marketplace, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has not released their enrollment numbers.

The marketplace will open for the 2015 enrollment in October to coincide with the Medicare open enrollment.  Individuals that did not enroll by the March 31, 2014 can enroll then but will need to to pay the 1% fine on their 2014 tax return. There are certain hardship exemptions based on affordability of the plans.

Consumers will have more options next year as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the Massachusetts based non-profit, announced they will be entering the Maine marketplace for 2015.  Harvard will offer plans to meet the ACA guidelines.  This is good news as Harvard will offer more competition, and has been rated as the number 1 health plan in the nation for 10 years.

For those enrolled in group plans the conversion to ACA compliant plans continues throughout the year. Insurers are sending out notices that current plans will be cancelled. Please assure employees that although their current plans will end, comparable plans will be offered at renewal and coverage will not lapse.  We will work to ensure new plans are compliant, and employees will not face a tax liability as they will have credible coverage under the law

Northern Benefits of Maine, LLC

Adam Sturtevant, VP


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