Dirigo – Self-Insure = Self-Destruct (Even Sooner)


The Maine Legislature just passed a bill that will allow Dirigo Health’s insurance product, called DirigoChoice, to be self-insured by the state.
Costs for this program have skyrocketed – from an initial estimate of $98 per member per month in 2003 to over $250 per member per month in 2007 (that’s just the taxpayer-funded portion, the employer and employee pay another $250 PMPM).
Right now DirigoChoice is administered by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, a WellPiont subsidiary, and is fully insured. Premiums rose 18 percent this year for individuals and are projected to rise another 15 percent next year – two to three times the average increase of plans nationally.
Rather than look at the fundamental flaws of Dirigo Health, the Governor and Legislature have decided that the problem is that a private insurer is running it and earning (small) profits. The State thinks that they can do a better job.
This attempt at government-run health insurance will fail like all the others. Only this time, the risk is totally on Maine taxpayers, unlike with a fully-insured product where the carrier holds the risk.
The Dirigo saga continues. Sadly, this is the way life is for Maine.