Bureau of Insurance releases more Anthem documents

LEWISTON — The Maine Bureau of Insurance is releasing more documents related to a new insurance plan proposed by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, though not enough to end a court action by Central Maine Healthcare.

The bureau announced plans to release some documents, including actuarial memorandums, a cost comparison tool for the individual market and other templates on Tuesday. It will release other documents on Monday, July 1, including a rate-table template and medical-loss-ratio templates.

An Anthem spokesman said his company would not try to block the release.

At issue is a proposal by Anthem, the state's largest health insurer, to partner with MaineHealth, the state's largest health-care organization, and offer new individual and small-group insurance plans for the upcoming Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange. Thousands of Mainers could be eligible to receive federal subsidies to pay for the insurance.

Anthem had asked the Maine Bureau of Insurance to keep secret much of its proposal as it seeks approval for the new insurance plan. Bureau spokesman Doug Dunbar has said requests for confidentiality are not unusual and the bureau has a standard, formal process to determine whether documents should be secret or public. He said that process has been ongoing in this situation.

But officials from Central Maine Healthcare, the parent organization of Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston as well as Rumford and Bridgton hospitals, claimed the public hasn't had the time or the information necessary to comment on the proposal before the bureau rules on it.

Earlier this month, CMHC filed suit in Kennebec County Superior Court against Eric Cioppa, superintendent of the Bureau of Insurance, and the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation in an effort to get provider network and other Anthem insurance plan information released to the public.

CMHC officials say Anthem's proposed insurance plan limits which doctors and hospitals patients can use and could force some people to drop their doctors and seek out of town medical care. Central Maine Medical Center, Rumford Hospital and Bridgton Hospital are not on the plan's list of approved hospitals.

CMHC said the bureau has released about 70 percent of the documents it wants. It plans to continue its Freedom of Access Act court fight.

However, CMHC will dismiss part of its suit. It will no longer try to get the bureau to halt its consideration of Anthem's application, the portion of the suit that had been set for oral arguments Tuesday. Instead, CMHC said it may appeal if the bureau approves Anthem's new insurance plan and it will then bring up that stay request in court again.

The bureau will hold a public hearing on Anthem's proposed insurance plan Friday at the bureau's headquarters in Gardiner. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. The public will have the opportunity to speak starting at 5:30 p.m. 

ltice@sunjournal.com

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Thomas Hamilton's picture

freedom of information

For a democratic government to thrive, its workings must be visible to the public.

What are they hiding?

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