New federal data shows that Maine’s average individual health insurance premium will drop 13 percent in 2021 — the third straight year state health insurance costs have declined, state officials said.
Maine is among only four states in the nation to see insurance costs decrease, Maine Department of Health and Human Resources officials said in a statement on Tuesday.
The announcement comes with open enrollment on the Health Insurance Marketplace starting on Nov. 1 until Dec. 15. The marketplace, or exchange, was created as part of The Affordable Care Act for Americans who don’t get health insurance through an employer or a government program. Mainers can go to HealthCare.gov to compare coverage plans, determine whether they qualify for financial assistance and sign up for a plan, officials said.
“No one should have to live in fear of not being able to see a doctor, fill their prescriptions or receive life-saving care, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” Gov. Janet Mills said in the statement.
The data indicates that next year, 60 percent of Maine HealthCare.gov customers can pay less than $75 per month for health insurance, while 40 percent can pay under $10 a month, officials said.
Eligible Maine people can sign up for MaineCare, or Medicaid, at any time. Mainers can explore both options at CoverME.gov. Three insurance companies are offering Mainers 56 plans through the marketplace, officials said.
Last year, 107,000 Mainers, or 8 percent of the state’s population, had no health insurance. Individuals earning $17,609 a year or less, or families of four earning $36,156 or less, are eligible for MaineCare, officials said.
Mainers earning less than $51,040 for a single person, or under $104,800 for a family of four, can get reduced premiums through the marketplace. This year, 86 percent of Mainers buying coverage through the marketplace qualified for reduced premiums, officials said.
Under Mills’ first executive order, MaineCare expanded for low-income residents, with up to 90 percent of the cost funded by the federal government. Due largely to coverage protections created due to the pandemic, enrollment in Medicaid increased by 40 percent to 62,896 from March 2 to Oct. 1, officials said.