State receives federal grant to aid in the establishment of new insurance system
Maine Community Health Options has received a federal grant that will help it establish the state’s first health insurance co-op system. The organization has been a strong advocate for national consumer operated and oriented plans (co-ops), which are believed to make health insurance both more affordable and comprehensive. The grant provided by the government will assist in the development and introduction of a health insurance co-op in Maine. This new system may serve as an example for others throughout the country.
Health insurance co-op to provide coverage to uninsured individuals
The health insurance co-op that will take root in Maine is expected to help fill a gap that exists in the state’s health insurance industry. The co-op will be designed to specifically target small businesses and uninsured individuals. Individuals living at 400% below the federal poverty level will be eligible for financial assistance that will offset the costs of the coverage they receive through the health insurance co-op. The profits that the health insurance co-op makes are funneled right back into the system. This is meant to make the plan fully self-sustaining.
Insurance system expected to have a powerful impact on consumers
The federal grant comes courtesy of the Affordable Care Act. The state’s health insurance co-op will function in much the same way a conventional health insurance exchange does and embodies Maine’s compliance with the federal law. State officials believe that the establishment of the health insurance co-op will have a profound impact on people’s lives by providing them access to affordable and comprehensive insurance coverage.
Enrollment to begin in 2013
Maine’s health insurance co-op is expected to begin open enrollment in the fall of 2013 and begin providing coverage in January 2014. Main Community Health Options has a goal of enrolling 15,000 during the first year of the state’s health insurance co-op. The organization expects that the program will encompass more than 50,000 consumers in the years following.