As reported by Andy O'Brien for The Free Press--Midcoast Maine, (new DHHS numbers) we are 90% of the way to our total projected participation in the ACA before Mar. 31. "We have surpassed enrollment targets by a greater percentage than any of the other 35 states on the exchange." Some significant breakouts: 80% of the new ACA registrants (20,511) went with the new state health cooperative--Maine Community Health Options--which offers real price competition to BCBS. They are killin' it (Their est. made possible with ACA loans of $62 million). While the numbers point to smaller percentages of younger applicants than most states, Maine demographically skews older, and the youth percentages are trending higher as the enrollment period proceeds.
After reading this article I went outside to putter in the yard. A neighbor pulled up as I was digging out my woodpile to talk about our brief respite in a stormy winter. As he wound up his news, he said,"Oh, there is something I just did that I'm tickled about--I just paid my first premium for ACA coverage to Maine Community Health. Get this: I'm paying $2.00 a month as a premium." I took off my glove to shake his hand. "That's really great, I said. I just paid my first premium for the same outfit." He went with a silver plan. I told him I picked the gold plan, because the deductible was $600.00 per year with $1500.00 OOP. The $285.00 monthly premium I feel gives me the best bang for the buck.
My friend said, "Now I'm thinking of getting dental coverage--that's my big issue, really." I said that he should get back on healthcare.gov and click on dental. He should find an inexpensive plan easily--I saw lots of good plans when I looked. I said, "you're paying $2.00 a month for healthcare--I think the dental premium is going to end up low as well. My friend said that this health plan will get him safely to Medicare in 4 years. This guy is a hard working self-employed 61 yr. old--who does not make a lot of money when the dust clears. He just lost his life partner to lung cancer, and was really worried about financial matters. He is what the ACA is all about. This is a guy who had really good insurance when he worked in NYC some years ago. He moved to Maine and changed his life--but the lack of affordable insurance always haunted him. Now, he really has a huge burden lifted off of him. The ACA is really working here in Maine. As an aside, I tried to call this Health Coop back to fix a detail in the policy, and the hold times were much longer than before. I think the numbers going forward are going to be great--when I got through to a caller, they said they were quite busy. Well, there was another great ACA story in the same Free Press article about a guy the same age as my friend. He will now pay 67.00 a month in premiums, and is another deeply relieved hard working Mainer.