About Maine Insurance Laws, Health Insurance and Regulations…
The Maine insurance industry serves a robust market that is filled with a wide range of businesses. The industry does not only serve businesses, of course, and provides a varied assortment of insurance products to residents as well. The state regulates its insurance industry through the Maine Insurance Bureau. The Maine Insurance Bureau is responsible for ensuring that both state and federal regulations are upheld and that consumers are not taken advantage of by insurance companies and vice versa.
Auto insurance is mandatory in Maine.
The Maine Insurance Bureau has determined that drivers may carry a minimum level of coverage in order for their vehicles to be considered insured. This coverage must account for: $50,000 for the injury/death to any one person; $100,000 for one accident resulting in injury/death of more than one person; and $25,000 for property damage. Drivers are not required by the state to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of any kind.
Maine homeowners are not required to purchase insurance protection for their properties. Because of the state’s proximity to the East Coast, there is a risk that homeowners could fall victim to hurricanes and other storms that produce heavy floods. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused widespread flooding through much of the East Coast, affecting several states in its path, Maine included. Because of the potential threat of natural disasters, the Maine Insurance Bureau strongly encourages homeowners to purchase the appropriate coverage for their properties.
Homeowners insurance coverage, as well as flood insurance coverage, is often a stipulation of a mortgage agreement with a financial institution. The property insurance sector offers a wide range of coverage options that are suited toward the needs of consumers.
Maine home to 1.3 million people, 9.6% of which do not have health insurance coverage. Many consumers receive health insurance plans through their employer, but others claim they simply cannot afford to purchase health insurance policies. Beginning in 2014, federal law will require all U.S. citizens to carry some form of health insurance coverage. This same law requires states to host health insurance exchange programs that will help mitigate the financial impact associated with the insurance mandate. Some of the financial concerns Maine consumers have regarding the cost of health insurance may be addressed through the establishment of an exchange program.
Maine is one of the several states that has risen to oppose the Affordable Care Act, the law that will introduce the insurance mandate and call for state-based insurance exchanges. Governor Paul LePage halted the state’s efforts to build an exchange program earlier this year to await a decision on the federal health care law from the Supreme Court. The law was upheld, but efforts to build and exchange in Maine have not made any progress. In November 2012, Governor LePage informed the Department of Health and Human Services that the state would not operate or build its own exchange, to the chagrin of the Main Insurance Bureau.
Insurance News Update: The federal government will be responsible for building an exchange program in Maine.
Maine Insurance Resources:
Maine Insurance Commissioner: Eric A. Cioppa, Superintendent
Maine Department of Insurance Website: http://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/index.shtml
Maine Insurance Licensing Info: http://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/license_reg.htm
File Insurance Complaint: http://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/complaint.htm