Maine Obamacare enrollments still dismal


ObamaCare (1)

The number of Mainers choosing Obamacare plans at the dysfunctional website is still well below expectations, according to a Tuesday report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Just 1,747 Mainers — or 0.13 percent on Maine’s population — have picked an insurance plan, according to the DHHS report for the months of October and November. That number includes people who have not actually paid their first premium. While its an improvement from October’s total of 271, it’s still far below expectation.

All told, 12,667 Mainers were deemed eligible for a plan. This number reflects only those who have completed an application and been found eligible for any plan at It includes individuals who had not selected a plan as of Nov. 30 and may never select a plan.

5,945 Mainers completed an application in the last two months, are eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan, and are also eligible for federal subsidies, according to DHHS. That means 5,945 Mainers looking for insurance in the last two months can get subsidies to help them pay for high-priced plans offered at

1,079 are eligible for Medicaid, according to DHHS. This means 1,079 Mainers went shopping for private insurance but discovered they’re eligible for free medical welfare under MaineCare.

[RELATED: Maine teachers union unhappy with Obamacare, seeking exemption…]

Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, outlawed certain insurance plans, leading to the cancellation of more than 10,000 Mainer’s plans. But last month, the Maine Bureau of Insurance ruled, in accordance with President Barack Obama’s unilateral policy directive, that individual insurance carriers may violate the Obamacare law and offer plans they had previously cancelled for another year.

Despite a nearly six-fold improvement in Obamacare enrollments, the number of Mainers whose insurance has been cancelled or thrown into uncertainty is still far greater than the number who have picked new plans on the exchanges.

[RELATED: Angus King joins Democrat “strike force” on Obamacare…]

You can find DHHS’ report here.


  1. Interesting view from the WaPo health policy blog:

    “The battle of the anecdotes is all-but-guaranteed because access to health care is really difficult to measure, even more so than the number of people who have enrolled or how well is functioning. With enrollment, for example, can track all the people who pick a private insurance plan, as can the 14-state based insurance exchanges. That’s how we know 2.1 million people have selected private insurance plans (although we don’t know how many have paid their first month’s premium, which is due, for January coverage, by this Friday).

    The federal government can gauge how well is working by tracking how long it takes pages to load, or how many enrollment files — known as ‘834s’ — contain errors. And the call centers know, too, how long customers have to wait to get a person on the line.

    But when it comes to access to health care, there’s no analogous metric. Our health-care system is really fragmented. Since shoppers are buying private coverage, and not a government plan, we have no central clearing house to understand whether more shoppers are having an experience like Scott in Texas — or like Browne in California.

    Nonprofit institutions do study these types of questions. The Commonwealth Fund, for example, regularly looks at how long patients in different countries have to wait to see a primary-care doctor or a particular surgeon. But these surveys take months to conduct and analyze, meaning that we will probably have to wait until late 2014 or early 2015 to get a sense of what access looks like under the Affordable Care Act.

    Enter the anecdote, which can be great to understand how new policy programs are impacting the way that Americans receive health care. But they can also be a really terrible way to gauge whether Obamacare is going great — or is a complete disaster. One or two stories don’t do a great job of capturing the experience of the millions of Americans who have signed up for health plans.
    And even the anecdotes themselves can be nuanced, portrayed in different ways to make Obamacare seem great, or horrible. …”


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