Maines Dirigo Health, a state-affiliated insurance plan offered to residents who lack employer-sponsored healthcare coverage and who are ineligible for Medicare and Medicaid, can become a self-administered plan under new legislation signed by Gov. John Baldacci.
The new law would allow the state to take over marketing and administration of the program from its current administrator, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, should healthcare policy officials decide to do so, according to David Farmer, a spokesman with the governors office.
No definite decision has been made to self-administer, but it gives us another tool in the toolbox if we cant find a (health insurance) partner that satisfies us, said Farmer, who noted state officials dont feel Anthem has been very aggressive in marketing the plan to residents. About 20,000 Maine residents are currently insured through Dirigo, and roughly 124,000, or 10% of the states population, are still without coverage, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.
If we do decide to self-administer, we think we can take out some of the profit motivation that drives (insurance) companies to steer customers towards certain products, Farmer said. That money can actually go towards insuring more people. -- by Shawn Rhea