State averages for health insurance increases in Maine will hit the neighborhood of double digits, and small businesses are likely to bear most of their brunt, according to reports.
Analysts note that these small businesses have very limited access to tax subsidies for health insurance, and are thus likely to shoulder the full cost of the premium increases, unlike individual policy holders.
For instance, of the seven major small group plans offered in Maine, Aetna’s offering will increase by 15.8%, according to the Maine Bureau of Insurance. Small group insurance is tailored for companies with up to 100 employees insured through the plan. Aetna will hike its premiums by 12.9%, while UnitedHealthCare will have the most minimal at 4.1%.
In contrast, rate increases for the current year reached 4.8% and 8.2% for individual and small group plans respectively.
For next year, Community Health Options reported the highest jump at 25.5%. Industry observers thus noted that the most cost effective plans for 2016 may not remain so in the coming year.
The steep hike in health insurance rates for next year trails a national trend as insurers adjust their cost projections in anticipation of the Affordable Care Act’s first year of full implementation.
Maine’s health insurance rates rank among the highest in the US, partly because of its scant population and the high proportion of elderly residents. National trends such as rising prescription and treatment costs are also exacerbating the state’s health insurance situation, said reports.