AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The two Maine companies offering health insurance plans on the new insurance exchange say despite the national problems with Obama Care sign-up, they are getting plenty of interest from customers.
Representatives of Maine Community Health Options and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield met with legislators in Augusta for an update on the first month of signup in Maine. Both companies say customer interest is high. They also say their own web sites work just fine for the sign up, unlike the federal health exchange web site that's gotten so much bad publicity.
The companies and legislators say the subsidies for lower income people will make the policies affordable. Kevin Lewis, CEO of Maine Community Health Options, told legislators a 62-year old disabled man on Social Security, with an income just over $11,000 per year, would receive enough subsidy to pay less than $2 per month for health insurance. MCHO staff also ran the numbers for a young family of four, and found they would pay a similar amount.
Not everyone gets that kind of benefit, and an Anthem representative told legislators that current policy holders with high deductible plans may end up paying more. That's because the Affordable Care Act puts a $6,250 ceiling on deductible policies. People who currently have higher deductibles could see a premium increase.
Legislators say they were glad to hear that the companies' own web sites are working properly and handling a lot of inquiries from Maine people. MCHO reported 832 phone calls and 17,000 web visits this month from potential customers. Anthem gave no numbers, but told NEWS CENTER the company was seeing "unprecedented call volume and heavy web traffic" on its insurance exchange policy site.