Mainers fear losing coverage as ACA options shrink

Anthem insurance NOW

WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - People who get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act in Maine will have one fewer option when open enrollment begins on November 1.

Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield announced at the end of September that it would pull out of the ACA marketplace, effective starting in 2018.

READ A MESSAGE ABOUT HEALTH CARE ENROLLMENT FROM THE STATE OF MAINE

Ronie Jurdak, a hairstylist in Waterville, gets her insurance through the ACA and uses Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield because of its affordable prices, she says.

Jurdak said she has to have colonoscopies every five years to monitor polyps, which could potentially turn cancerous. She worries that the other available companies, Harvard Pilgrim and Community Health Options, may not cover her costs the same way.

"Without insurance to pay for the high cost of that test, I will have to choose between either paying for it myself or I run the risk of getting cancer," said Jurdak. "I want to have preventative care. I want to keep on top of things so they don't turn to cancer."

Jurdak said she did not have insurance for many years, and was finally able to get it because of the ACA.

According to the Maine Bureau of Insurance, about 74,000 people in Maine get health care through the ACA marketplace. About 23,000 people have plans through Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. About 32,000 have plans through Community Health Options, and about 19,000 have plans through Harvard Pilgrim.

MaineHealth Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Accountable Care Strategy Katie Fullam Harris said she was "disappointed and not surprised" by Anthem's decision to pull out of the marketplace. She said Maine Health has plans to help its patients transition smoothly without losing coverage.

"We want to make this as simple as easy for patients as possible because it's in all of our best interest to ensure that patients have access to affordable health coverage,' said Fullam Harris. "Patients who do not have insurance do not use services as efficiently and as effectively as patients who have good quality coverage."

 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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