Federal Health Care Law Leads to Phase-Out of Maine Program

June 24, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Maine Governor Paul LePage has signed into law legislation that will phase out funding of a state program that provides subsidized health care coverage.

Business Insurance reports that the subsidized coverage in the DirigoChoice program—available to individuals and employees working at small companies—is funded through a 2.14% surcharge on health care claims. The new law will reduce the surcharge to 1.87% next month, to 1.64% in July 2012 and 1.14% in July 2013.   

The surcharge and the program will end December 31, 2014.   

The news report said that under the DirigoChoice program, employers who obtain coverage through the program cannot be required to pay more than 60% of the premium for single coverage, while Dirigo subsidizes premium contributions of lower-paid employees.   

According to Business Insurance, DirigoChoice Executive Director Karynlee Harrington said when key provisions of the federal health care reform law start in 2014, coverage will be extended to a greater number of uninsured than through Maine’s program. 

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