Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.
You know since my very first day in office when I signed the Executive Order expanding MaineCare as the people of Maine had voted to do by more than 60 percent, my Administration has also been working to make health insurance more affordable for Maine people.
We have restored programs that cut the costs of prescription drugs for seniors, we’ve protected health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, we’ve expanded coverage for dental and reproductive health care services, we’ve invested in our current and future health care workforce, and we’ve targeted direct relief to Maine’s small businesses who are grappling with the high cost of health care and health insurance.
In March of 2020, I signed into law, with the bipartisan support of the Legislature, my Made for Maine Health Coverage Act. This Act improves health insurance coverage and holds down health insurance premiums for small businesses. Thanks to that new law, we reversed the trend of steadily increasing 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 percent, instead of increasing by 12 percent which would have been the case without the plan.
That decrease in costs in Maine comes as average small group premiums in many other northeast states are increasing. Rhode Island is scheduled to see an average of 11.5 percent increase, Vermont an average of 11.7 to 18.3 percent, Connecticut by an average of 14.8 percent, and New York an average increase of 7.9 percent.
This average reduction in Maine health insurance costs is a victory for many small businesses and their hardworking employees who rely on the small group market for health insurance, and it couldn’t come at a better time. As Maine small businesses grapple with high costs from inflation, this is one thing 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 & Recovery Plan to lower health insurance costs for Maine’s small businesses. These investments include $39 million to launch the Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program which lowers the cost of monthly health insurance premiums for small businesses and their employees.
I will continue to do all I can to support Maine’s small businesses and the entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a business here in Maine, especially when it comes to lowering the cost of high-quality health care.
Now if you are looking for health insurance, you can learn more about your coverage options at Maine’s state-based marketplace, CoverME.gov. That’s CoverMe.Gov.
This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.