November 24, 2017
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Maine health insurance co-op emerges from $90 million deficit

By Patty Wight, Maine Public
BDN File | BDN
BDN File | BDN
A nursing student listens to a patient's lungs with a nurse practitioner at the Greater Portland Health clinic.

Maine’s insurance co-op, Community Health Options, is back in the black after sustaining operating losses of nearly $90 million in the past two years.

A report from Maine’s Bureau of Insurance says in the first quarter of 2017, Community Health Options had a surplus of $3.7 million. The co-op’s Mike Gendreau says the company was able to pull itself out of a deficit by reducing administrative costs, increasing rates and educating members on when to go a doctor’s office or clinic instead of the emergency room.

“In certain cases, a sore throat for example, would be, call your provider. Talk with your provider. And they may be able to help you over the phone, or go into the office to see them, rather than access the most expensive care available,” he says. “It’s also having an impact to their own bottom line so as they access appropriate care in the appropriate setting, they may save money in the process, and it also reduces our own costs.”

Gendreau says Community Health Options is projected to remain profitable for the rest of 2017.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

 


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