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December 20, 2018

Maine ACA enrollment down 5.5% from 2018

Enrollment in Maine's Affordable Care Act marketplace for 2019 is down 5.5%, with 71,577 people enrolling by Saturday's deadline. By comparison, 75,089 Mainers enrolled for ACA health insurance in 2018, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Nationwide, CMS reported roughly 8.5 million people enrolled in the ACA, compared to 8.8 million people at the same time last year.

Business Insider reported today that the 4% national decline is considerably less than the trend suggested in the last weekly update from CMS before the Dec. 15 deadline, which showed enrollment on track to fall as much as 12% year over year.

Two analysts quoted by Business Insider said the higher-than-expected sign-up tallies show the continued strength of the ACA health insurance market, despite political uncertainties resulting from numerous changes initiated by the Republican-led Congress and the Trump administration.

"This is good for the ACA exchanges and we think makes it highly likely we will see a stable risk pool next year," said Matthew Borsch, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

"With 8.5 million people signed up for health insurance for 2019 in the federal ACA marketplace, it is far from dead and remarkably resilient," Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at The Kaiser Family Foundation, tweeted Wednesday.

Final rates approved by the Maine Bureau of Insurance for individual and small group filings benefited from the bureau's reintroduction of Maine Guaranteed Access Reinsurance Association program, a successful state program that pooled high-risk individuals as a way to stabilize the individual health insurance market.

Here are the individual rates showing average rate increases across all plans, by each insurer:

Individual

Anthem: Average rate, -4.3%; minimum, -15.9%; maximum, 3.0%

Community Health Options: Average rate, 0.9%; minimum, -2.52%; maximum, 3.66%.

Harvard HMO: Average rate, 2.1%; minimum, -4.4%; maximum, 3.6%.

Small group

Aetna Health: Average rate, 12.1%; minimum, 5.0%; maximum, 21.0%.

Aetna Life: Average rate, 7.0%; minimum, 0.0%; maximum, 8.1%.

Anthem: Average rate, 11.0%; minimum, 4.2%; maximum, 19.3%.

CHO: Average rate, 8.4%; minimum, 5.2%; maximum, 13.8%.

Harvard and HPHC: Average rate, 14.8%; minimum, 5.1%; maximum, 20.4%.

United Healthcare: Average rate, 2.2%; minimum, -8.5%; maximum, 13.2%.

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