Senate unanimously approves Senator Chipman bill to improve transparency in health insurance ads

Posted: May 31, 2023 | Senator Chipman

AUGUSTA — On Tuesday, the Maine Senate unanimously approved a bill from Senator Ben Chipman, D-Portland. LD 1271, “An Act to Require a Disclaimer on Promotional Materials for Medicare, Medicaid and MaineCare Products by Private Entities,” would ensure more protections against misleading health insurance advertisements.

Senator Ben Chipman

“I have heard from constituents who have changed their health care plans after being sent misleading promotional materials from private companies. These companies use words that indicate public insurance involvement,” said Senator Chipman. “Changing health care plans is a cumbersome process that can adversely affect consumers. By requiring visible, legible and large disclaimers on these materials, consumers would be better equipped to make more informed decisions about their health care coverage. I am grateful for the support from my colleagues in the Senate.”

LD 1271 would ensure that private companies include disclaimers on all their advertisements and solicitations to inform consumers that they are looking at an ad. Many private health insurance companies mail promotions to those eligible for Medicare Advantage that look similar to documents from public health insurance. This legislation would help mitigate spreading misleading advertisements by ensuring all promotional materials have disclaimers.

When consumers receive mailers from private health insurance companies, the font and format of the mailers sometimes match official documents from public insurance companies, such as MaineCare. Disclaimers are not often included to make the reader aware that they are looking at a solicitation. In cases that there is a disclaimer, the font is typically small and hard to read. LD 1271 would ensure that private insurance companies are more transparent by requiring disclaimers to be in larger print and legible font when advertising through direct mail.

LD 1271 now faces additional votes in the House and Senate.