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Maine to merge its individual and small group insurance markets in 2023

The federal government has approved a state waiver to combine Maine's individual and small group insurance markets in order to keep costs down.

Insurance premiums are expected to rise nationwide next year. In Maine, proposed increases range from an average of 3.5% for the small group market, which serves businesses with 50 or fewer employees, to 15% for the individual market.

But the Mills administration says the newly approved federal waiver puts the groups together in one pool, which could knock premium increases down an average of 6-8%.

It will also allow businesses in the small group market to benefit from Maine's reinsurance program. It's a program that helps stabilize the market by using federal funding as well as a surcharge on all health policies in the state to help cover the cost of the most expensive health bills in Maine's individual marketplace.

The two markets will merge beginning in 2023.