With all the talk of some insurance companies leaving the Marketplace and the uncertainties around health care policy at the national level, there is at least one bedrock certainty that you should know: the steadfast commitment of Community Health Options to the people and businesses of Maine.
Our unwavering dedication to our mission is also our unwavering dedication to Maine's group and individual insurance consumers. On-going evidence of our fiscal turnaround reinforces that this commitment will endure.
Just as in our first year of operations in 2014 after which we rebated $3 million back to our Members and paid $2 million into the federal risk corridor program, we have returned to being in the black in the first months 2017. Of course continued discipline on our core operational pillars will be the focus in the months to come as we work through the rest of the year, but early indications show a positive 2017 ahead. Two successive months of positive net income have allowed us to begin to rebuild our surplus. As a nonprofit and as a CO-OP, all of our success stays here in our service area, with our Members. Our continued efforts to lower the total costs of coverage and provide relief to consumers and businesses alike will only add to these benefits here at home.
Our approach to lowering the total costs of coverage is rooted in three fundamental operational pillars:
Investments in new tools - While successfully cutting costs over the past two years, we've also placed our focus on gaining new efficiencies. This has resulted in the recent deployment of our new enrollment management system and development of a new invoicing and premium accounting system to provide first tier account management support. Ongoing efforts to revamp provider and member portals continue and will be rolled out throughout the rest of the year.
Better value for our Members - With our switch to a new pharmacy benefits manager, we are continuing our efforts to maximize the value that our Members get out of their premium dollar. Enhanced mail order fulfillment and ease of access to information on lowering out of pocket costs are both meant to aid consumers and reduce total plan costs. Increased scrutiny of out of area, out of network treatment requests has been successful in connecting Members with in network options closer to home and often at less expense for everyone involved.
Focus on unparalleled excellence in service - After the 2016 open enrollment season when we were deluged with calls, we ramped up our capacity to receive calls from Members and providers alike resulting in a dramatic decline in hold times and better consumer access to timely information. Health Options remains committed to being available to our Members whether by phone or via the portal and we continue to refine our service model to benefit our membership and network of providers.
On behalf of your entire Maine-based Health Options team, we look forward to continuing to demonstrate the positive results of our work and earning your ongoing commitment to the only non-profit health insurer domiciled in Maine.