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October 20, 2015

Health insurance competition heats up in ACA marketplace

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is aiming to sign up a larger share of Mainers purchasing subsidized insurance for next year on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace.

The Portland Press Herald reported that the New England health insurance company is attempting to capture some of Community Health Options’ market share by offering an option with a discounted premium and a smaller network of doctors and hospitals.

This year, about 75,000 Mainers signed up for health insurance in the ACA’s individual marketplace. Lewiston-based Community Health Options, which expanded into New Hampshire this year, has the largest market share with 60,000 in Maine enrolled in plans, the Press Herald reported. Harvard Pilgrim, with the most expensive premiums last year, signed up the smallest share — only 1,000, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield enrolled the remaining 14,000.

Harvard Pilgrim officials told the paper that the company created the narrower network plans with 10% to 15% premium discounts to try to encourage more people to sign up for its coverage. Harvard Pilgrim’s traditional, broader network will still be available for consumers.

The Press Herald reported that Harvard Pilgrim’s overall premium prices declined by an average of 4.8% for next year, while Community Health Options’ premiums increased by an average of 0.5%, and Anthem’s premiums increased by about 5%.

People can sign up for 2016 plans through Jan. 31.

Read more

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