Maine legislators delay talk on Dirigo Health’s future

By Jackie Farwell, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 04, 2012, at 6:18 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A legislative committee will hammer out the details of a state health insurance exchange later this month.

The Insurance and Financial Services Committee met Wednesday for the first time in the second legislative session and delayed discussion of two bills concerning implementation of an exchange in Maine. The panel plans to meet on Jan. 18 to further discuss the bills, which govern the structure and oversight of the exchange.

Lawmakers are evaluating whether the Dirigo Health Agency will transition into the state’s new health insurance exchange or be dissolved.

The bills were removed from the original agenda to give the panel time to get a handle on new federal guidelines for the exchanges, said committee chair Sen. Rodney Whittemore, R-Somerset. Rep. Sharon Treat, a Hallowell Democrat, said she and about 30 members of the public who attended the meeting were dismayed by the last-minute change in plans.

States are required to set up health insurance exchanges under the 2010 federal health reform law. Designed to serve as one-stop marketplaces for individuals and small businesses to shop for policies, the exchanges will come online in 2014.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/01/04/politics/committee-delays-discussion-on-health-exchange-bills/ printed on July 14, 2014