How the Maine CO-OP surpassed its own expectations

Maine Community Health Options, the consumer operated and oriented plan operating in Maine, has already enrolled 40,000 people, maintains rates lower than its big name competitors and offers unique benefits with a wide range of networked doctors, reported the Sun Journal.

The new insurer aimed for 15,500 members in its first year of operation and about 40,000 members around 2019. But MCHO already has more than 40,000 members and dominated the Maine health insurance exchange, enrolling 83 percent of consumers. What's more, MCHO has now expanded its business to sell plans in neighboring New Hampshire, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

"Hopefully that means that people are getting into coverage … and that's really what all this is all about, getting people into meaningful and affordable benefits," MCHO CEO Kevin Lewis told the Sun Journal. "It's an exciting time."

Its success is due in large part because its unique program benefits are coupled with a large provider network. But it's also a result of MCHO's ability to quickly adapt to any challenges.

For example, when it became overwhelmed and struggled to handle customer calls, MCHO assigned employees to be solely responsible for outreach and education. After determining what callers were specifically complaining about, the insurer worked to resolve the issues.

Looking forward, MCHO hopes to continue growing and enrolling more consumers. It now offers a high-level platinum plan, included pediatric dental coverage into some of its plans and added cardiovascular disease to its unique chronic illness program, which offers free care and medications for certain members, the Sun Journal noted.

MCHO is standing out at a time when some CO-OPs are struggling. The Iowa insurance department has taken control of CoOportunity Health plan because the insurer has insufficient capital, FierceHealthPayer reported.

To learn more:
- read the Sun Journal article