Main health insurance premiums grow despite more accommodating laws
Several states in the U.S. are preparing to adopt and comply with more stringent insurance regulations due to the Affordable Care Act. Maine, however, is breaking this trend by loosening its insurance rules. These rules are often cited for making Maine one of the states with the highest insurance premiums in the country. State officials hope that by being more lenient on insurance companies they will be able to encourage a reduction in premiums and make insurance coverage more affordable for citizens. Thus far, new rules have done little to affect Maine health insurance.
New insurance rules meant to mitigate growth of Maine health insurance premiums
Insurance rules began to relax in Maine last year. The lax rules allowed new insurance companies from out of state to enter Maine and do business. This was praised by consumers as it brought more competition to the state’s insurance market and succeeded in driving down premiums somewhat. Six months after the old rules were replaced by those considered to be more accommodating to insurers, no new companies have entered into the state market and health insurance premiums remain stagnant for some.
Analysis shows premiums are on the rise
Recent analysis from advocacy group Consumers for Affordable Health Care shows that consumers below the age of 40 have seen premiums drop over the past six months. Those over the age of 55 saw increases to their health insurance premiums, many of which exceeded 18%. The analysis shows that the majority of consumers in Maine saw an average 1.7% increase on their health insurance premiums.
Legislative action may not be enough to slow growth of Maine health insurance premiums
Those in the insurance industry suggest that Maine health insurance continues to grow more costly because it is difficult to affect rates with the adoption of insurance laws. The state has, thus far, focused on taking legislative action in an attempt to mitigate the rising cost of health insurance coverage. Some suggest that Maine lawmakers should instead encourage wellness programs that would help improve the health of residents, an initiative that may be able to drive down health insurance premiums in the long term.