Open forum for small group health reveals public opinion

Maine Small Group Insurance Rate HikesAnthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine hosted a public comment forum Monday to discuss their impending rate hikes. A small group assembled in opposition of the proposed premium increases, most of whom were vocal with their disdain. The insurer is seeking to raise its rates as a result of rising medical costs and insists that the new rates will help ensure the quality of health care remains high. Many policyholders aren’t buying it.

“We all know this is not about delivering quality care,” argues one angry Mapleton resident, Shelly Mountain. She insists that Anthem is more interested in funneling extra money to their executives and investors. Kofman’s insurance rates have risen inexorably year after year, and the possibility of additional increases is the last straw.

Anthem first submitted its proposal for rate increases back in February and, if approved, the rates could go up as much as 10%. Higher premiums would affect more than 11,000 policyholders throughout the state. Anthem asserts that the increase is absolutely vital in order to remain competitive in the market.

Among those that will be most affected by the rate hikes are the self employed. Nathan Freeman, who crafts violins, violas and cellos, says that he has avoided purchasing any meaningful coverage plans because of the exorbitant cost. After being diagnosed with terminal melanoma and suffering a car accident, he decided to purchase the coverage he needed. Within months, his premiums rose and he says that if the new rate hikes are approved, he will no longer be able to afford coverage.

Additional forums are scheduled for March 22nd and April 11th. The proposition has yet to be approved.

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