Maine has exceeded the Obama administration’s enrollment goal for the HealthCare.gov insurance exchanges thanks, in part, to the Republican reluctance to expand Medicaid pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Nationwide, a total of 4.2 million people have selected a plan on the Obamacare exchanges — a number which still significantly trails the Obama administration’s initial goal of having 7 million enrollees by the end of March.
According to numbers released by the Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday, 25,412 Mainers have selected health insurance plans at federally run exchange website. The HHS brief does not indicate how many of these individuals have paid their first premium and can verify that they have coverage.
Mainers who signed up for Obamacare, but still aren’t sure if they have health insurance, should consult this FAQ provided by the Maine Bureau of Insurance.
Maine’s Obamacare enrollment rate exceeded its goal, in part, because roughly 4,500 individuals with annual incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty line selected plans online, according to the Maine Bureau of Insurance.
Had Maine expanded Medicaid last June, those individuals would have instead been automatically directed to sign up for the medical welfare program known in Maine as MaineCare.
The strong exchange enrollment isn’t a solidly rosy picture, though, as Maine’s enrollees are disproportionately elderly. In Maine and across the nation, younger, healthier individuals have proved reluctant to purchase now-mandated health insurance plans from the exchanges.
If too few young people opt out of Obamacare, insurance premiums could skyrocket as insurers cope with a population that is more expensive to insure than predicted.
The release of Maine’s exchange enrollment figures comes on the heels of an impromptu campaign by some Republican lawmakers to show pro-MaineCare expansion activists that affordable alternatives to welfare exist.