OVERVIEW

LD 1333 is a wholesale repeal of Maine’s strong health care protections. It was ramrodded through the Insurance and Financial Services Committee by Republican lawmakers who introduced a 45-page amendment after the public hearing.

The proposal undoes decades of Maine law that ensures consumers are protected from predatory insurance practices.

The bill morphed from 4-pages when introduced, to 29-pages at the only work session, and then to 45 pages in final form at the language review — the majority of it without a public hearing or any opportunity for analytical review.

It will hurt small businesses, rural Mainers, the chronically ill and anyone over 48 who is not yet eligible for Medicare.

Maine people deserve a complete analysis of the impact of this bill’s provisions before it moves any further.

GENERAL IMPACT
Republicans, the insurance industry, and the Maine Heritage Policy Center introduced a bill that completely overhauls Maine’s health care law to increase the profits of the insurance industry at the expense of Maine people.

Consumers – especially those who are older, sick, suffer from chronic illnesses, and/or live in rural Maine – stand to lose the most from this amendment.  Insurance companies – both out-of-state and for those currently in Maine – will benefit the most, as policyholders will see their premiums skyrocket.

LD 1333 is a Christmas tree bill that throws together 10 years of previously rejected ideas without regard to how these changes affect Maine people and small businesses. The committee majority rammed through a package of policies that conflict with federal law and will significantly increase insurance costs for many Maine people.

This proposal hurts small businesses, rural Mainers, the chronically ill and anyone over 48 who is not yet eligible for Medicare.

Stakeholders, including doctors, hospitals, the Chamber, small businesses, patients and cancer survivors have opposed many proposals of this bill in the past. It is important that we hear from these groups on how the measures will impact them.
The law only benefits you as long as you are young, completely healthy, and living in certain parts of the state. We are all one trip to the hospital away from becoming “high risk.”
You could end up paying 5 times as much as someone else based on your age or because you live in a rural part of the state, regardless of how healthy you are.

SPECIFIC IMPACTS: 42% of the Individual Market ,with an average age of 48, will experience rate increases; 14.9% of the market faces an average increase of 29.9%.  (based on rating band of 3:1. because data for the more drastic 5:1, ratio in LD 1333 does not exist.

Hurts those who are already sick and need the most care.
Jacks up rates for the sickest Maine people. People who need quality, affordable health care the most are hurt the most.
People who want to keep the insurance they have now could end up paying as much as 170 percent more in premiums, according the Bureau of Insurance.
The reinsurance pool will be paid for with a per person tax on insurance policies of $4 a month or $48 per year (family of four is $192 per year). There is no guarantee it will generate enough money to pay for all Mainers who need it.  If the funding falls short, health insurance premiums will be taxed even more or benefits will be cut
The Republican reinsurance pool plan is based on Idaho’s high risk pool and its experience, not Maine-based data and analysis. According to Idaho state government figures, their reinsurance pool life time (not annual) cap is $1,000,000 for the sickest and most expensive individuals. Deductibles range from $500-$5,000. Maternity deductibles are $5,000. LD 1333 sets no caps and therefore makes promises we can’t keep. We will have no choice but to cut benefits or raise taxes to honor our commitment.

Cherry-picks healthiest Mainers, gives no protections.
Makes it easier for insurance companies to track the people with highest expenses through medical assessment forms, likely resulting in denial of care or payments.

Hurts older Mainers, small businesses and those living in rural Maine by allowing for a larger cost difference in benefit plans
Allows insurance companies to vary rates on an unlimited basis for geographic location.  Generally, people and small businesses in rural areas will have to pay more than people in urban areas. This applies to both the individual and small group markets, so people and small businesses in rural areas will likely see a large increase in premiums.
Allows insurance companies selling individual policies to set rates based on age and five times higher than the lowest rate. State regulations in place for many years now limit that range to a 1:1.5 ratio, meaning, for example, that a policy costing $300 for the lowest-risk policyholder can cost no more than $450 for the highest-risk. This bill would expand the range over time to 1:5, so the highest-risk policyholders could be charged up to $1,500.

Hurts Rural Maine people, health care providers
Repeals rules limiting distance policyholders must travel for in-network care. Someone in Houlton could be forced to drive to Portland or Boston to get cancer treatments.
Will hurt rural health care providers if patients are forced to travel to urban areas to get care. Current law protects local providers.  Health care access in rural communities and rural providers would be affected by the repeal of these protections.
According to the Bureau of Insurance analysis (based on a 2007 study): while insurance premiums for younger, healthier Mainers will go down, for older Mainers (48 and up), those living in rural areas, and those with pre-existing conditions costs will increase substantiall

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