Maine Affordable Health Insurance Initiative (2009)

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The Maine Affordable Health Insurance Initiative has qualified for the November 2009 ballot in Maine.

The goal of the initiative's supporters is to expand health insurance options. The filing sponsor is Joel Allumbaugh.

The initiative, if approved, would create the New England Health Insurance Compact. Among other changes to the existing laws, it would allow citizens to chose from a wider range of low cost insurance plans similar to those now available in New Hampshire and other New England states. Maine's insurance rates are now the 2nd highest in the country, and the cost of health care as a percent of gross state product is 26% higher than the national average. The sponcers of this referendum state that this change in the health laws of Maine would be a positive step towards addressing the problem.

Summary

This initiated bill does the following: Part A permits certain out-of-state health insurers, which are referred to as regional insurers in the bill, to offer their individual or group health plans for sale in this State if certain requirements of Maine law are met, including minimum capital and surplus and reserve requirements, disclosure and reporting requirements and grievance procedures. The bill defines the out-of-state health insurers as those insurers authorized to transact individual or group health insurance in one of the following states or jurisdictions: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. It also permits Maine health insurers to offer individual or group health plans of out-of-state parent or subsidiary health insurers if similar requirements are met. If out-of-state health plans are offered for sale in this State, the bill requires that prospective enrollees be provided adequate disclosure of how the plans differ from Maine health plans in a format approved by the Superintendent of Insurance.

Part B reforms the guaranteed issuance requirement in the individual health insurance market and creates the Comprehensive Guaranteed Access Health Insurance Association. The purpose of the association is to spread the cost of individuals not able to find coverage in the traditional individual market among all health insurers.

See Affordable Health Bill for complete information on the initiated bill.

You may download the complete Bill Here: Maine Leads Downloads

Socialized medicine?

In a press release July 14th, Tony Payne, Executive Director of the Alliance for Maine's Future[1], states that "Maine remains the second most costly state for health care, the number of uninsured remains about the same, there are no measures for quality improvements and thousands of people who were previously insured elsewhere have switched to the government-subsidized plan. That makes Dirigo an expensive failure and moves Maine ever-closer to being a welfare-dependent state." Payne said the solution to the state's health care crisis is to create a competitive insurance market.

"Individual rates in the state of New Hampshire are less than half of those charged in Maine yet a majority in our legislature thinks they can do better?" said Payne. "Apparently, they can’t."

"Maine simply is not big enough or rich enough to fund such a program. If socialized medicine can be proven to provide better outcomes and lower costs, it needs to be at a national level and not on the backs of Maine families and businesses."

Supporters

External links

References