AUGUSTA – Opponents of Gov. Janet Mills 2021 health insurance bill warned that it would drive up health insurance costs on Mainers even higher but Governor Mills muscled the proposal through a friendly legislature into law.
Now, a consultant hired by Governor Mills to study Mills policy change has delivered news she certainly didn’t want to hear, but that many with experience in insurance policy expected and predicted.
On Monday, the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee received the bad news that Mills’ changes will lead to a $600 per year increase in health insurance premiums.
“Legislative Republicans raised alarms about the cost of Gov. Mills’ health insurance policies, and now her own administration is saying we were right,” Rep. Josh Morris said. “Mills and Augusta Democrats passed this policy on a partisan basis, and now Mainers are stuck with the bill. Democrat rule in Augusta is proving to be expensive for Mainers.”
Morris is the lead Republican on the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee in Augusta.
The 23-page report presented to the committee lays out how Mills’ changes, which force the merger of Maine’s individual and small group insurance markets, will impact the premiums of Mainers. The report also shows significant declines in both insurance pools from 2017-2021. Maine’s individual market enrollment has declined by 24% in that time frame, while Maine’s small group market has declined by 21.1%.
Rep. Morris introduced a bill in 2021 to keep the integrity of the two markets and avoid the consequences now predicted in the report but received no support from Democrats in the legislature. Democrats in the Maine House & Senate killed Morris’ bill, LD 352, on party line votes.