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Health Care

Author: david clough Date: May 18, 2011

 

“More choice and competition will drive down the high costs of insurance premiums making coverage more affordable to everyone,” said Gov. Paul LePage upon signing into law the most sweeping changes in nearly 20 years to health insurance regulation in Maine (LD 1333).
 
 
Key provisions include:
 
·         A reinsurance mechanism that allows insurance companies to share the burden of high-cost policyholders (financed by an assessment on healthcare plans)
·         Changes in how rates are calculated in the individual market (allowing for greater variations based on age and geography)
·         Changes in how rates are calculated in the small employer market (allowing for greater variations based on age, geography, occupation, and industry)
·         Relaxation of restrictions on the ability of insurers to offer incentives for people to seek healthcare service beyond the person’s local area
·         Permission for certain businesses to form an insurance-buying group
 
NFIB indicated support for several provisions but could not commit to changes in how premiums are calculated due to insufficient information with which to determine the impact on NFI B members. We also told lawmakers that the current situation was unworkable and that small business owners were desperate for changes this year that will lead to more choice of affordable insurance.
 
The controversial legislation, which was supported by all Republican legislators, also picked up two votes from Democrats in the House (Rep. Hanley of Gardiner and Shaw of Standish) and three Democrats in the Senate (Sen. Diamond of Windham, Sen. Schneider of Orono, and Sen. Sullivan of Biddeford) as well as the support of one independent (Sen. Woodbury of Yarmouth).

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