Maine efficiently reverses pattern of accelerating medical health insurance premiums for a lot of small companies and reduces proposed improve in premiums in particular person market as well being insurers’ charges are finalized for 2023 plan yr
Governor Janet Mills introduced at the moment that Maine small companies will see their first annual common discount in medical health insurance premiums since no less than 2001.
In accordance with final weighted average rates (PDF) filed by medical health insurance carriers and accredited by the Maine Bureau of Insurance coverage for the 2023 plan yr, premiums for the small group market – which serves employers with 50 or fewer staff – will lower by 0.8 p.c, a discount from an initially proposed improve of three.42 p.c.
It’s the first time that common medical health insurance premiums have decreased within the small group market since no less than 2001 when such charges started to be persistently tracked, and it’s the direct results of Governor Mills’ Made for Maine Well being Protection Act, which merged the small group and particular person markets and prolonged the protections of the Maine Assured Entry Reinsurance Affiliation (MGARA) to the small group market. The Federal authorities accredited the merger via Maine’s first-in-the-nation State Innovation Waiver in July 2022.
The discount in Maine comes as common small group premiums in lots of different northeast states will improve, together with in Rhode Island (PDF) by a median of 11.5 p.c (in line with preliminary filings), in Vermont (PDF) by a median of 11.7 to 18.3 p.c,in Connecticut by a median of 14.8 p.c, and in New York by a median of seven.9 p.c.
In the meantime, the ultimate weighted common fee improve within the particular person market is 11.4 p.c, a discount from the initially proposed common improve of 14.72 p.c. However because of the extension of the American Rescue Plan’s expanded eligibility for premium tax credit via the Inflation Discount Act, extra Maine individuals than ever are actually eligible for monetary help, which is able to largely defend them from these increased premiums.
The Federal tax credit restrict the utmost contribution that eligible shoppers pay to a proportion of their revenue, serving to defend them towards premium will increase. In accordance with the White House (PDF), on account of the extension of the premium credit, 59,000 Maine residents may save lots of on medical health insurance premiums, together with 15,000 small enterprise house owners and self-employed individuals who buy particular person protection. Additional, 14,000 further Maine residents might have medical health insurance subsequent yr than would have it with out the brand new legislation. These medical health insurance premium tax credit can be found via CoverME.gov.
Whereas the person charges are rising considerably throughout the nation for the 2023 plan yr for quite a lot of causes, such because the continued affect of the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, Maine’s State Innovation Waiver has mitigated the affect of those influences. With out the waiver, charges would have elevated by a median of 14.7 p.c within the particular person market and by a median of 12 p.c within the small group market.
“Because of the legislation I proposed and signed, we’re reversing the pattern of steadily rising medical health insurance prices for a lot of small companies for the primary time since no less than 2001. This can be a victory for a lot of Maine small companies and their hardworking staff who depend on the small group marketplace for medical health insurance, and it couldn’t come at a greater time. As Maine small companies grapple with excessive prices from inflation, that is one much less factor they should fear about,” mentioned Governor Janet Mills. “I’m happy with this progress underneath our watch. It builds on my Jobs Plan initiative that can also be decreasing prices for small companies and their staff, and it sends the message to Maine small enterprise house owners and people serious about beginning companies right here that we are going to do all we are able to to have your again.”
“Governor Mills directed us from the begin to take motion to assist small enterprise house owners provide their staff inexpensive medical health insurance,” mentioned Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of Well being and Human Providers. “This good outcome for small companies stems from the collaboration between the Bureau of Insurance coverage and Workplace of the Well being Insurance coverage Market, the bipartisan help from the Maine State Legislature, our partnership with Maine’s insurance coverage carriers, and the constant, sturdy management from the Governor.”
“The adjusted premium charges are very encouraging, and present the optimistic affect of the merged market, notably for the small group market, which has seen a pattern of huge will increase over the previous a number of years,” mentioned Timothy Schott, Appearing Superintendent of the Bureau of Insurance coverage.
Signed into law in March 2020, Governor Mills’ Made for Maine Well being Protection Act helps improve protection and maintain down premiums, saving people and staff in small companies cash on well being care prices.
“From day one, our aim has been to make well being care extra inexpensive and extra accessible for working households, small enterprise house owners and older Mainers. Collectively, we’ve enshrined fundamental affected person protections into state legislation, handed legal guidelines to decrease the price of pharmaceuticals and enhance entry to lifesaving treatment, and labored to convey stability, effectivity and affordability to the medical health insurance market,” mentioned Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. “In the present day’s information proves that we’re transferring in the appropriate course and delivering for Maine individuals and small companies. We nonetheless have an extended technique to go however please know that I’ll proceed to do every little thing I can to make sure each Mainer can get the well being care they deserve.”
“Governor Mills and her crew have labored proactively to make healthcare extra inexpensive. The information about cost-savings for employers is massive. Employers wish to do all they will to recruit and retain staff, so advantages like medical health insurance are vital,” mentioned Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford. “I commend Governor Mills’ crew and the specialists on the Maine Bureau of Insurance coverage for having the foresight and creativity to suggest the Made for Maine Well being Protection Act, then to work with the Legislature to help it. It was a sensible transfer that’s paying off.”
“As Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Well being Protection, Insurance coverage and Monetary Providers Committee, I’ve spent the previous 4 years working to make it simpler for Maine individuals to entry inexpensive well being care protection and guarantee small enterprise house owners, like myself, can provide well being care plans to their staff. I’ve additionally seen firsthand how the price of well being care has turn into an enormous problem for small companies throughout the state. It’s why I used to be proud to accomplice with my colleagues within the Legislature and the Mills Administration on a brand new legislation to decrease prices for small companies and staff,” mentioned Senator Heather Sanborn, D-Portland. “By merging the person and small group medical health insurance markets, we sought to scale back premiums for individuals insured via their small enterprise employer, make it simpler for small companies to supply insurance coverage and stabilize the market. I’m thrilled that that Maine individuals and companies will lastly start to expertise these financial savings.”
“Our committee stood with shoppers and small companies, honoring their experiences and their wants in our effort to make insurance coverage extra inexpensive. This type of cost-cutting affect isn’t straightforward to attain, however this milestone reveals we’re on a path that’s price it,” mentioned Denise Tepler of Topsham, Home Chair of the Legislature’s Well being Protection, Insurance coverage, and Monetary Providers Committee. “Making progress on affordability was our aim. In the present day now we have proof that it’s working, with small enterprise insurance coverage prices happening.”
Underneath the legislation, Maine grew to become the primary state within the nation underneath the Reasonably priced Care Act’s 1332 waiver program to offer Federally supported reinsurance to each small employers and people. MGARA, supported by Federal funding and charges on well being insurers, pays for a part of the price of the costliest well being payments, decreasing and stabilizing medical health insurance premiums. Maine received approval by the federal Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Providers for the waiver on July 15, 2022.
The Made for Maine Well being Protection Act builds on the work the Mills Administration has additionally achieved to make well being protection extra inexpensive for Maine small companies. In 2021, Governor Mills devoted $39 million via her Maine Jobs and Restoration Plan to launch the Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program that lowers the price of month-to-month medical health insurance premiums for small companies and their staff.
Underneath this system, well being insurers obtain monetary help to scale back premiums for his or her small enterprise prospects by $50 per coated employee per 30 days and by as much as $130 per 30 days for household protection. This system is scheduled to proceed via April 2023.
Maine people and households, in addition to small companies, can study extra about their protection choices at Maine’s state-based market, CoverME.gov, the one stop-shop for complete main medical protection backed with federal and state protections.