Governor Mills: Maintaining Health Insurance Costs for Small Businesses in Maine

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.

You know, from my very first day in office when I signed the executive order expanding MaineCare as the people of Maine voted over 60%, my administration has also worked to make health insurance more affordable for the people of Maine.

We restored programs that lower prescription drug costs for seniors, we protected health insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, we expanded coverage for dental and reproductive health services, we’ve invested in our current and future healthcare workforce systems, and we’ve targeted direct assistance to Maine’s small businesses struggling with the high cost of healthcare and health insurance.

In March 2020, I signed into law, with bipartisan support from the Legislative Assembly, my Made for Maine Health Coverage Act. This law improves health insurance coverage and limits health insurance premiums for small businesses. With this new law, we have reversed the trend of steadily rising health insurance costs for many small businesses next year for the first time since at least 2001.

In 2023, premiums for the small group market – which serves employers with 50 or fewer employees – will decrease by an average of 0.8%, instead of increasing by 12%, which would have been the case without the plan.

This decrease in costs in Maine comes as average small group premiums in many other northeastern states increase. Rhode Island is expected to see an average increase of 11.5%, Vermont an average of 11.7-18.3%, Connecticut an average of 14.8% and New York an average increase of 7.9%.

This average reduction in Maine health insurance costs is a win for many small businesses and their hard-working employees who rely on the small group market for health insurance, and it couldn’t come at a better time. As small businesses in Maine grapple with high costs due to inflation, this is something they will have a little less to worry about.

I am proud of this progress under our watch, progress that builds on other investments we are making in my Jobs and Recovery Plan to reduce health insurance costs for small businesses in Maine. These investments include $39 million to launch the Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program, which reduces the cost of monthly health insurance premiums for small businesses and their employees.

I will continue to do all I can to support Maine small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to start a business here in Maine, especially when it comes to lowering the cost of high quality health care.

Now, if you’re looking for health insurance, you can learn more about your coverage options on the Maine-based marketplace, CoverME.gov. It’s CoverMe.Gov.

This is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.

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