As open enrollment for Affordable Care Act plans continues, the Maine Bureau of Insurance is warning consumers to be cautious of scams, limited-benefit plans and misleading information when searching for a health care plan.

The website to find ACA plans in Maine is Open enrollment for 2024 plans started on Nov. 1 and continues through Jan. 16. About 63,000 Maine people have individual plans through the ACA.

The insurance companies licensed to sell individual ACA plans in Maine include Community Health Options, Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim/Point32, United Healthcare and Taro Health. Other products resembling major medical health insurance are sold, but are either not insurance or offer limited benefits.

“If you purchase a non-regulated plan, the Bureau of Insurance may not be able to assist you if the company later does not pay claims as promised,” said Timothy Schott, the bureau’s acting superintendent.  “It is worthwhile to spend a little time and make sure that you are purchasing an authorized insurance plan from a Maine licensed company.”

Aside from the official website and working directly with the five ACA insurers in Maine, purchasing plans from other entities may result in getting a substandard health insurance plan, or a plan that is not actually health insurance.

For instance, consumers who use “lead generating websites” are “often sold limited-benefit insurance plans instead of major medical health insurance plans,” the bureau said. The websites often show up when putting in a simple online search for Maine ACA health plans.


“There are crucial differences between these types of plans – major medical plans are traditional health insurance that covers preventive services, office visits, inpatient and outpatient services, and emergencies, while limited-benefit plans only cover specific medial issues (such as cancer) up to a certain dollar amount,” the bureau said.

Another common problem is that there are products that look like health insurance, but are not insurance, such as “health care sharing ministries.”

“Health care sharing ministries are not insurance plans and do not guarantee that all your claims for medical services will be covered. If your medical claim does not meet the sharing criteria for any reason, you will be responsible for the entire medical bill. If the ministry has spent what they collected, they may not be able to pay your claims,” the bureau said.

In addition to plans that offer few benefits, there are also numerous scams, where consumers will think they are purchasing insurance, but instead pay money for a plan that doesn’t exist.

ACA rates for Maine’s health insurers increased by 14.6% for 2024, although about 80% of consumers are shielded from rate increases because they are low- or middle-income and qualify for subsidies.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance listed the following “red flags” to help determine if you are being sold a scam or a substandard plan:


The person on the phone won’t identify the name of their company.

The person on the phone won’t provide you with their Maine license number.

You are not given the chance to review documents prior to purchasing the plan.

The person on the phone insists that you must make your purchase “right away” or you’ll lose the deal.

You are told you need to pay a fee in order to purchase the plan.

You are told you must join an association in order to purchase the plan.

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