October 21, 2013

Interest in heath exchange remains high in Maine

The Obama administration’s top Health and Human Services official for New England briefs lawmakers and health care experts.

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — Groups helping people sign up for coverage on the problem-riddled federal health care exchange in Maine say interest in the program has remained high since enrollment opened Oct. 1.

Consumers for Affordable Health Care and others told the state’s Health Exchange Advisory Committee Monday that many residents are seeking more information about the exchange, or marketplace.

Maine Health Community Options CEO Kevin Lewis says more than 5,000 visitors have come to its online application portal. But people have to sign up through the federal website to get subsidies.

The groups say glitches in the federal exchange website continue to be a problem.

The top federal Department of Health and Human Services official for New England told the committee via conference call Monday that statewide signup numbers won’t be available until mid-November.

The state estimates that as many as 250,000 residents could use the exchange, also known as the marketplace, including about 130,000 who are uninsured.

To help answer residents’ questions, state officials will head to western Maine on Tuesday for two public information sessions about the new federal health care law.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance is holding an information session about the Affordable Care Act at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the South Paris fire station. Another session is scheduled at 5 p.m. Nov. 6 at the University of Maine at Farmington’s Roberts Learning Center.

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