health insurance

A program that’s expected to lower premiums on Maine’s individual health insurance market is set to take effect next January. That’s also when one of the mechanisms to fund the reinsurance program called MGARA kicks in — a monthly surcharge on all health insurance policyholders in the state.

The federal government has approved Maine's request to reinstate a program that has previously lowered individual insurance premiums.

Under the program, consumers with expensive medical conditions will be placed into an invisible high risk pool. Their medical costs will be paid through their premiums, as well as a $4 per month surcharge on all policyholders in the state.

Bureau of Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa says that in a state like Maine with a small population, a few high claims can raise premiums for everyone.

When enrollment opens next week, shoppers in the Affordable Care Act’s online insurance marketplace will see, on average, double digit increases in premiums. Subsidies will help cushion the blow for most of the 84,000 Mainers who enrolled last year, but some consumers and small businesses will have to absorb the higher costs.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data released last week, Maine is the only state in the nation where the number of uninsured children has increased significantly since 2010.

It comes during a time when there are more insurance options available than ever under the Affordable Care Act. Advocates have identified possible reasons behind the rise, and what changes they say would increase kids' access to health care.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Maine residents are scrambling to sign up for plans on the health care exchange ahead of the first important deadline.

According to federal estimates released this week, Mainers who shop on the online insurance marketplace will, on average, see lower premiums this year compared to last.

Patty Wight / MPBN

Maine is one of just two states in the nation where the number of people without health insurance increased in 2013. U.S. Census Bureau data released today indicates that, in one year, the percentage the state's uninsured grew from 10.2 percent to 11.2 percent - an addition of 12,000 people. The figures provide a backdrop as the next enrollment period approaches for the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplace.