Maine health insurance debate: Allow residents to purchase insurance out of state or not

Maine Health InsuranceLegislators in Maine continue to feud over the state’s proposed health insurance reform. Adding further stress to the issue is the fact that the state’s $6.1 billion budget has yet to be determined. There is little more than a month for legislators to make definitive decisions regarding these two issues. Though the deadline is rapidly approaching, lawmakers are not concerned that a reasonable outcome will be met.

Today, the Senate will assemble to rule on a much contested health insurance bill. The bill will allow residents on Maine to purchase insurance coverage from companies in other states. Critics of the bill argue that it undermines the state’s current regulations. Each state has its own set of insurance regulations. While these measures often overlap with one another, there are some regulations that are unique to some states.

Opponents say that purchasing insurance plans from outside states will relatively lenient regulations will only hurt residents of Maine.

Proponents of the bill have long argued that it will bring in much needed competition to the state’s insurance market. The breadth of options available to customers will, in theory, drive down the overall cost of coverage. Furthermore, residents will have the ability to choose what coverage is best for them rather than be restricted to what the state has to offer.

Lawmakers from both parties expect that a decision will be reached before the June 2nd deadline, but recent divisions within the Senate may delay the process further.

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