|Struggling small businesses, and their employees, will see higher costs, a reduction in benefits and limits on choice|
AUGUSTA CIVIC CENTER-Today, along party lines, Democrat legislators defeated two bills designed to preserve lower individual and small group market insurance rates and enhance consumer choice. Two bills (LDs 352 & 443), sponsored by Rep. Joshua Morris (R-Turner), would protect an individual insurance market that has experienced an 11 percent reduction in premiums and increase coverage options. Democrats effectively voted to increase premiums by four percent. People with a pre-existing condition would pay even more. Small businesses, and their employees, would also experience a limitation on choice and reductions in benefits (LD 443).
“I offered LD 352 because current law is being ignored,” said Rep. Morris. “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 $25 per month. For a family of four purchasing health insurance on the individual market, that’s an additional $1200 a year. That’s the average. Someone with a pre-existing condition, or other underlying concerns, is likely to pay more.”
“I sponsored LD 443 to remove language that limits the number of plans available to a small business to just 12 clear choice design plans selected by Maine Bureau of Insurance. It allows small businesses to keep the insurance plans that they currently offer to their employees. If we do not pass this bill, small businesses, and their employees, will see a reduction in benefits.
Failure to pass LD 443 will force Maine’s small businesses to have to choose between offering fewer benefits to their employees or making cuts in other areas, such as wages, to pay for the increased costs of plan designs.”