Maine Insurance Companies to Pay $2.5 million in Affordable Care Act Premium Rebates
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' has announced that health insurance companies will pay more than $1.1 billion in premium rebates to nearly 12.8 million Americans. A provision in the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to pay rebates to consumers if they spend too much of health care premiums on administrative expenses, such as salaries and marketing, instead of health care.
"I am pleased that under health care reform, Maine insurance companies will be required to pay $2.5 million in premium rebates that will benefit 10,589 Maine consumers this year," said Michaud. "Health premiums should reflect how much insurance companies are actually spending on care, and this provision will provide relief to Mainers who have seen their insurance costs skyrocket while their health care services stay the same."
Maine families receiving the rebate will see an average of $463, one of the highest averages in the nation for the large group market. For many consumers, the rebate will be transferred to the employer who administers the insurance plan, and it will then be either directly passed on to the employee or applied in a manner that helps the employees' health insurance costs. Consumers may also see the rebate either as a check in the mail, a lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that was used to pay the premium if it was paid by credit or debit card, or a direct reduction in future premiums. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required annually to make publicly available the amount they spend on health care costs and administrative costs. If the amount spent on administrative costs exceeds a certain threshold, the law requires insurance companies to issue a rebate to consumers.
More information about the health insurance rebates can be found here.
Michaud Announces Action on State Veterans Homes Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today, Congressman Michael Michaud, Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health, announced that his state veterans home legislation is included in a package of veterans-related bills that will be advanced by the House and the Senate. Michaud's bill ensures that severely disabled and elderly veterans are able to get the care they need at state veterans homes.
"Veterans in Maine and across the country have been waiting far too long for this legislation, and it is great news to hear that Congress is finally moving to consider these important measures," said Michaud. "Passage of this state veterans home legislation will ensure that we honor our veterans' service to our country by providing them with the care they need."
Michaud's bill requires the VA to enter into contracts with state veterans homes in order to reimburse them for the actual cost of the care they provide. His legislation passed the House by unanimous consent last October and has been waiting for Senate consideration ever since.
In addition to the language fixing the state veterans homes reimbursement issue, the package of bills includes nearly 50 provisions to improve healthcare, housing, education, homelessness, memorial affairs and compensation for veterans and certain dependents. This legislation also protects veterans from predatory behaviors and requires increased accountability and transparency from within the VA.
Michaud Applauds House Passage of Bath Salts Ban in FDA Bill
WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressman Mike Michaud praised House passage this week of a measure to create a national ban on synthetic drugs like bath salts. The bipartisan FDA User Fee Agreement includes language similar to the Synthetic Drug Control Act (H.R. 1254), a bill Michaud has been pushing since last year. Michaud called on the Senate to act quickly in sending the bill to the President's desk for final signature.
"I am very pleased that Congress is finally moving forward with legislation to address the bath salts crisis," said Michaud. "I have worked extensively with local Maine law enforcement on this issue over the last several months. These provisions will help make it harder to traffic these dangerous drugs across state lines and into our communities."
Maine officials also applauded the measure's passage. Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Morris said the bill "is really going to help local law enforcement in Maine." State Representative Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham), who was the original sponsor of a measure to ban bath salts in Maine, called the bill "an important first step to add greater logic to federal regulations."
The measure will ban the chemicals used in the synthetic stimulants commonly sold as "bath salts" or "plant food," which have been used as substitutes for cocaine and methamphetamines. Under current law, the DEA can ban new and emerging drugs if they and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can demonstrate within 18 months that the drug is harmful and lacks medicinal or industrial value. Provisions in the FDA bill will increases that amount of time to 3 years so that the agencies have the time they need to fully investigate new substances and keep dangerous ones off the street.
Michaud Praises Release of Funding for Primary Care in Lee
Congressman Mike Michaud has praised the award of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant of $787,500 for a primary care site serving the greater Lee region. Health Access Network has been awarded the funds to renovate a historical building on the Lee Academy campus that will provide healthcare access to 13 underserved communities.
"Maine community health centers have time and again proven that they provide quality, efficient care," said Michaud. "With this new investment, Health Access Network will be able to offer critical health services to communities currently struggling with provider shortages."
The Lee site will offer primary care, urgent care, behavioral care and substance abuse counseling, dental care, life style and health education and case management. Health Access Network is a community health center with healthcare providers and staff currently offering services in West Enfield, Lincoln, Medway and Millinocket.