90% of Maine Small Businesses See Rate Hikes
Real Effects of Rate Hike Law Even Worse
A report released today by Consumers for Affordable Health Care provides even more evidence showing that the health insurance rate hike bill passed last session has had a devastating effect on Maine small businesses, with 90% of business owners who renewed their plans experiencing increases in their premiums, including more than 96% of businesses in eastern, northern and western Maine.
Even these numbers don't tell the whole story, however, as they don't reveal how many of these businesses downgraded their plans, laid off employees or dropped coverage completely.
For Ken Shweikert, his 78% quoted increase was just too much.
"At The Grasshopper Shop in Ellsworth our premium went from $900 a month to over $1600 month" said Shweikert, the former owner and a member of the Maine Small Business Coalition. "Needless to say, we cancelled the policy. We now have individual policies with $15,000 deductibles."
For Walter Briggs, who owns a marketing firm in Bath with five employees, a premium hike of 67% meant that he had to cut coverage, let one employee go and was prevented from keeping others on full time. Due to his increased deductible, last year his family paid $10,000 in health care costs in addition to their skyrocketing premiums.
"Briggs Advertising was established in 1987, and for many years we have paid 100% of employees' coverage and 50% for their families. Each year, we pay more for less coverage," said Briggs. "I hate hate hate hate it. Health care should be a human right."
Last year, more than 1,200 small business owners took action through the Maine Small Business Coalition and asked their legislators to vote against the rate hike bill. It passed on a mostly party-line vote.
The across-the-board rate hikes for small businesses are occurring this year despite the fact that the law also created a new $22 million-per-year tax on Mainers with insurance, with the revenue being paid to insurance companies.
The full report can be found here.