SENATOR GRATWICK SPONSORS BILL TO PREVENT HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES FROM DISCRIMINATING AGAINST RURAL MAINERS
Bill would ensure rural Mainers are not charged higher rates
AUGUSTA- Senator Geoff Gratwick (D-Bangor) is sponsoring a bill that would not allow insurance companies to charge increased rate to rural Maine rate-payers. The measure requires health insurance companies to use one geographic area when establishing rates for individual and small group health plans.
“This bill will allow Mainers to keep more money in their pockets by saving money on their health insurance,” said Senator Gratwick. “We should not penalize rural Mainers by charging them higher rates for their health insurance, and this measure will ensure they are charged the same rates as their urban counterparts.”
Current health insurance companies are allowed to use geographic area as one criteria when determining health insurance rates. As permitted by the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the state of Maine is authorized to establish one or more uniform geographic rating areas for determining rates. This bill would create a single geographic area, in essence the entire State of Maine.
Establishing one geographic area will ensure that rural Mainers and urban Mainers are not charged different premiums based solely on where they live.
The bill, L.D. 1176, An Act To Require Health Insurers To Use One Geographic Area as Permitted by the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has a public hearing in the Insurance and Financial Services Committee, room 220 of the Cross Building, at 1 p.m. today. A work session for the bill is scheduled for April 9 at 1 p.m. in the same committee room.