(AUGUSTA, ME) in yet another partisan vote, Democrats in the Legislature defeated two bills intended to preserve lower insurance rates for individuals and small group markets and improve consumer choice.
Maine’s individual insurance market has experienced an 11% reduction in premiums and increased coverage options. LDs 352 “An Act to Maintain the Integrity of the Individual and Small Group Health Insurance Markets” and LD 443 “An Act to Ensure Choices in Health Insurance Markets,” sponsored by Rep. Joshua Morris (R-Turner), would protect these markets.
Democrats effectively voted to increase premiums by 4% and even greater increases for people with pre-existing condition. Small businesses, and their employees, would also experience a limitation on choice and reductions in benefits (LD 443).
Sen. Trey Stewart: “I commend Rep. Morris for putting forward these important pieces of legislation which I was happy to support. While we hear a lot of talk from Democrats about their concern over rising health insurance costs, their voting record today shows a different reality. They voted to increase costs on Maine people by at least four percent and make it harder for businesses in Maine to secure health benefits for their employees.”
Rep. Josh Morris: “I offered LD 352 because current law is being ignored. The effectiveness of the Maine Guaranteed Access Reinsurance Association (MGARA) has resulted in an 11 percent decrease in individual market premiums since 2019. Democrats would reverse that trend and replace it with a four percent increase. People with a pre-existing condition would pay even more. The negative impact of merging individual and small group markets is backed up by two recent actuarial reports by Gorman Actuarial and Milliman Actuarial.”
If the individual and small group markets are merged, beginning in 2023, the average monthly premium for an individual policy will rise by $25 per month. For a family of four on the individual market, that’s an additional $1,200 a year. Individuals with pre-existing conditions, are likely to pay more.
Failure to pass LD 443 will force Maine’s small businesses into a choice between fewer benefits for their employees or cuts in other areas, including wages, to pay for the increased plan costs.
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