Maine House rejects health insurance option

Posted May 13, 2009, at 2:13 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine House has rejected a bill to allow out-of-state health insurers to sell individual policies in Maine after a debate pitting arguments for consumer protection versus consumer rights.

Supporters argued before Wednesday’s 82-63 vote that Maine consumers want and deserve the option of shopping out-of-state for more competitive prices for health insurance. Supporters said that with only two companies writing individual health policies in Maine, consumers face a virtual monopoly.

But opponents countered that no other state allows out-of-state purchases, and Maine consumers would lose if their state became the first to do so. They noted that insurance is regulated by states, so consumers would lose protections they now have in the event of disputes.

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