AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Superintendent of Insurance Mila Kofman this week ruled on a proposed increase in monthly health insurance premiums by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine, granting the Indiana-based company an average 14 percent increase for its nongroup individual policies. That’s lower than the 23 percent increase Anthem had requested for the period of July 1, 2010, to June 31, 2011.
An Anthem spokesman said Friday that the company, which could appeal the decision in court, is still reviewing the superintendent’s findings.
The smaller increase will do little to relieve Mainers struggling to afford nongroup coverage. Under the 14 percent increase approved this week, for example, a single, 35-year-old adult with no children and a $2,250 annual deductible could pay as much as $509 a month for basic health care coverage. A married couple with two children could pay almost $1,300 a month for the same coverage plan.
The new rates will take effect Oct. 1 and be modified to reflect Anthem’s originally requested start date of July 1. About 11,000 Mainers will be affected by the rate increase.
Click for the rest of this story by Meg Haskell in the Bangor Daily News.
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Consumers with questions or concerns about their insurance can contact the bureau’s Consumer Health Care Division by calling 1-800-300-5000, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting the bureau’s website at www.maine.gov/insurance.
BANGOR, Maine — From Presque Isle, Deer Isle, Camden and Mapleton, Mainers traveled to Bangor Wednesday afternoon to protest the latest health insurance cost increase requested by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine.
“The hogs have come to the trough to feed again at the expense of those who use the coverage the least,” said lobsterman Leroy Bridges of Deer Isle, who purchases individual coverage for himself and his wife, with a $15,000 annual deductible each. “If they’re allowed a rate increase even close to what they’re asking, we’ll have to let it go; we got no choice.”
Bridges did not say how much his high-deductible coverage costs, but others at the meeting said similar policies cost close to $500 a month.
Anthem says the 23 percent average increase in the cost of its HealthChoice and Lumenos plans — for people who purchase health coverage individually instead of through an employer or other group — is needed to offset the growing cost and use of health care services and the unique challenges of the insurance market in Maine.
About 11,000 Anthem policyholders would be affected by the increase, which would take effect July 1 if approved.
Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Meg Haskell in the Bangor Daily News.
Posted in Economy, Maine, Politics and government
Tagged Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine, cost increase, deductible, health care, health coverage, health insurance, HealthChoice, Lumenos, Mainers, portest, rate increase