Maine aims to mitigate costly health insurance rate hikes
Many of the largest health insurance companies in the U.S. have warned states that they can expect to see significant rate increases for coverage in the coming years due to provisions of the Affordable Care Act being enacted by the federal government. This has caused some state officials to direct their anger at the federal government, while other states have been working to adopt a more robust rate review process that may enable them to avoid serious rate hikes in the future. Such is the case in Maine, where legislators are working on a new rate review proposal.
Maine legislators work to establish new rate review structure
According to the Affordable Care Act, all states must have an adequate rate review process in place. The federal law does not give a state’s insurance regulators any authority itself, leaving this instead to the state’s Legislature. Maine is currently in the process of re-establishing a rate review structure it had once upon a time. The proposal that would give this structure new life is called Legislative Document 83.
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Proposal will expand authority of state regulators
The proposal outlines the Maine rate review process, highlighting the authority that insurance regulators must be given in order to ensure that health insurance companies only introduce rate hikes that are absolutely necessary. According to the state’s current laws, insurance regulators do not have the authority to reject rate increases coming from health insurance companies, as long as these companies keep their rate hikes below 10% and adhere to federal regulations requiring them to pay 80% of the money they collect from premiums on improving medical care.
Consumers express concern over health insurance rates
A new rate review process is being heralded as a major victory for Maine and its citizens. Consumers, as well as several advocacy groups, have expressed concern over the rate at which health insurance companies were raising premiums. A more comprehensive rate review process may help ensure that the higher rates being proposed by insurers are not excessive and unjustified.