Chapter 90 (the bill LD 1333) is the new law passed by the Legislature last session that drastically changes the way private health coverage is regulated in Maine.
The changes to the Community Rating standards have already started to take effect for small businesses and will start in 2012 for individuals. While a thorough analysis has not yet been completed, so far the results seem to be as expected. A few businesses in the southern part of the state with young workforces are seeing lower than expected premium increases and in some cases slight declines while many other firms are seeing much higher than expected increases. Worth remembering is that during the debate opponents of the law said there would be winners and losers while proponents said everyone would benefit. As real rates have started to come in proponents are trying to re-write history and say that they always said there would be winners and losers.
Another aspect of the new law is the changes to access standards for enrollees in health plans, known as Rule 850. The law calls for revisions to these standards. The Bureau of Insurance has issued new draft regulations. A public hearing on these proposed revisions was help on December 20 and written comments are due in early January. Consumers for Affordable Health Care (CAHC) and the Maine Medical Association both spoke in opposition to the proposed revisions and both will be submitting written comments as well.
The groups who spoke in support of the revisions included Anthem and the Maine Association of Health Plans. The groups who spoke in opposition to the bill included the Maine Hospital Association, the Maine Medical Association, CAHC and the American Physical Therapy Association.
We anticipate that 2012 will bring many more challenges and (hopefully) victories for health care consumers in Maine! Please consider getting involved and visit our website for more information: www.mainecahc.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Happy holidays and have a happy, healthy and safe New Year!
CAHC Policy Director