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The Maine Arts Commission has worked for a long time to connect Maine’s creative sector with affordable health insurance. The Maine Arts Commission serves as a resource to Maine Community Health Options (MCHO), informing MCHO of the needs of artists and does not answer questions on behalf of MCHO. All inquiries about personal insurance coverage should be directed to MCHO

 

On January 2014, Maine Community Health Options started offering new and affordable health insurance options for Maine people and businesses.

In late February 2013, Maine Community Health Options (MCHO) received licensure to operate as an insurance company in Maine. The Lewiston-based organization became the first not-for-profit, consumer operated and oriented (CO-OP) health plan that will provide health insurance to Maine people and businesses. "MCHO is on the map as a solution for better health and lower costs for Maine people and businesses," Kevin Lewis, CEO of MCHO said. "As a result of working together with providers, consumers and employers, we will offer coverage choices that produce better results for our members."

The federal Affordable Care Act authorized the establishment of consumer-directed CO-OPs, designed to increase competition among health insurers. MCHO received a five-year, $7 million loan from the federal government to help fund start-up costs. The organization received a second $55 million, 15-year loan to capitalize the CO-OP as benefit plans become available.

The CO-OP is governed by the same people who are covered by its policies and offer health plans for individuals and small businesses (< 50 employees), and also provide health insurance options for the large group market. Unlike for-profit healthcare, profits will be used to benefit enrollees, which could be achieved through lowering premiums, improving health benefits, or performing other activities to increase the stability of coverage for CO-OP members.

The Maine Arts Commission supports the principals behind MCHO, and sees the work they are doing as having great relevance to artists and other creative professionals. In Maine, affordable healthcare for artists has been a longtime concern, and the agency is optimistic about the possibilities a health CO-OP could deliver.

The agency is introducing the people of MCHO to organizations and individuals across the state so they can evaluate need and build healthcare offerings appropriate for the creative community. If you are interested in learning more you can visit the MCHO’s website. The Maine Arts Commission and MCHO are offering outreach workshops to local communities.  

For more information please contact the Media and Performing Arts Director at the Maine Arts Commission. Kerstin Gilg, 207/ 287-6719 - kerstin.gilg@maine.gov