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Harvard Pilgrim to Offer Insurance in Maine Marketplace
04/04/2014   Reported By: Patty B. Wight

At least one more insurance company will likely offer plans on the online insurance Marketplace in Maine next year. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care plans to join the list that already includes Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Maine Community Health Options.

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Health advocates said the added competition bodes well for Maine consumers. Edward Kane, the Vice President of Harvard Pilgrim Maine says, as a non-profit dedicated to providing coverage to as many people as possible, his company wanted to join Maine's Marketplace in 2014.

"Frankly we just needed more time to do the adequate necessary preparations."

Now, they're ready said Kane, and thrilled to join. Emily Brostek of Consumers for Affordable Health Care said Harvard Pilgrim's decision reflects the success of the Marketplace in Maine, whose approximately $25,000 enrollees by the beginning of March surpassed the overall federal goal of $23,000. With at least three insurance providers offering plans next year, Brostek said consumers will have expanded choice.

"Insurers are going to try harder to create products and prices that work for consuemrs so they pick their plans instead of competitors. So it can only be a good thing for consumers, I think."

But other insurance companies aren't quite ready to take the plunge. Susan Millerick of Aetna said although the company offered plans in the Marketplace in 17 other states this year, they have learned to proceed with caution.

"It was a rocky experience, I think we can acknowledge that, sort of across the board. So what we're needing to do now is really bring some real regulatory certainty and closure to what the rules will be and how the exchanges will function. And right now, we are continuing to evaluate where we stand today."

Because open enrollment for the 2014 Marketplace just closed on March 31st. Insurance companies have until May 31st to decide whether to join the Marketplace in 2015.


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