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Maine May Bar Health Insurance Payments This Week


Maine is once again heading the vanguard in health insurance development and policy. This time the Maine house put forth a provision eliminating caps on life time and yearly health insurance plans. This, in turn, would make it financially easier for residents who suddenly become sick or ill to pay for their treatment.

The news is victory for proponents of health insurance reform who saw the effects of policyholders who simply could not pay for coverage. When residents fall ill more often than not, they would accrue extreme debt because they were denied payments for medical treatments.

The move came after a 2009 report entitled “An Act to Protect Health Care Consumers from Catastrophic Medical Debt,” came out detailing why health care caps are detrimental in the long run. In the case of sudden illness, a patient with an annual cap, i.e. the maximum amount a health insurance provider will spend on a member for a one-year period, may be faced with outrageous bill once their coverage runs dry.

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Lifetime caps are similar in that it covers the policyholder for a limited amounted as long as the customer retains his or her membership with the health insurance provider. The lifetime policy amounts to what an insurer is willing to pay for the policyholder’s life.

Many residents are unaware of such caps and thus the mountain of debt that comes with sickness is a shock. Most Americans believe that health insurance will cover them should they fall ll. However, coupled with out-of-pocket expenses, and premiums, the cost of health care is not cheap.

The 99-38 vote comes following a move by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine to hike individual health insurance plans by as much as 23 percent. Many health insurance providers have threatened to increase rates citing the rising cost of health care and the thinning pool of healthy young policyholders.

The plan will prove to beneficial to the state at large in the long run. The cost to the state will be less than to pay for those that are uninsured. The health insurance bill will move to the Senate next week and is likely to pass.