Last fall, Maine implemented a new program to provide relief to lower the cost of health insurance for small businesses and their employees. The Maine Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program took effect November 2021 and will be available through April 2023, depending on the availability of funding.
While businesses continue to be challenged with recruiting and retaining talented employees in the current job market, the employee benefits offered by companies are a differentiator. The relief available in Maine is helping companies cover a portion of the cost of their employee benefits for the next year, also making it less expensive for the employees who elect coverage. If you are an eligible small business, and not taking advantage of this program, we strongly advise you to consider it. The money saved on your health insurance premium is substantial, and you can use those dollars to fund other areas of your business or employee engagement efforts. Here are some important details you need to know about the relief.
Who is eligible?
The relief is available to businesses who are enrolled in a fully insured, community-rated small group comprehensive health insurance plan. Businesses with these plans generally have 50 or fewer eligible employees. All health insurance carriers in Maine that currently offer fully insured, small group plans in Maine are participating including Aetna, Anthem, Community Health Options (CHO), Harvard Pilgrim, and United Healthcare.
How does the program work?
The program provides monthly premium payment relief to eligible employers. Insurance companies show the premium credit amounts in the monthly invoice provided to the employer.
What is the monthly premium credit?
The credit amounts are $50 per adult + $30 for plans that include coverage for a child, based upon the following subscriber types:
- Employee $50
- Two adults $100
- One adult + child $80
- Two adults + child $130
(Note: Adult + child plans provide the same credit per plan, regardless of the number of children. Child includes a dependent on the employee’s plan up to age 26.)
Maine’s Bureau of Insurance is required to ensure that the credits are passed through to employees commensurate to the portion of the premium that an employee pays and may audit an employer to satisfy this requirement.
How do Maine businesses enroll?
Employers with qualifying health plans do not need to do anything to participate in the program. Insurance carriers will identify those small group plans to which the credit applies and will send an informational letter explaining the program further.
Where can Maine employers find additional information?
More detailed information can be found on the Maine Department of Insurance website here, including a general, overall information sheet, here. You can also read our previous blog post announcing the program, here.
If you have any questions about Maine’s Small Business Health Insurance Premium Support Program, our team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.