Washington, D.C. - In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny officially endorsed the Lower Premiums Through Reinsurance Act of 2017. This bipartisan legislation, authored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), would provide states with the flexibility and support that they need to create state-based reinsurance programs for their individual health insurance markets. This measure would help lower premiums while ensuring continued coverage for people with preexisting conditions.
In the letter endorsing the bill, Governor Sununu and Commissioner Sevigny noted that “the average 2018 rate increase for New Hampshire citizens buying their health coverage on our exchange is estimated to be 52% for those who are not eligible for a subsidy. More than a quarter of participants in New Hampshire’s individual market pay full premium for their health insurance.” They went on to emphasize the bill’s “fiscally conservative approach that enables states to stand up their own reinsurance programs quickly and keeps costs to the federal government to a minimum.”
“The increasing cost of health insurance has been a major problem with the Affordable Care Act and with many of the bills that have been advanced to repeal and replace the law,” said Senator Collins. “The Lower Premiums Through Reinsurance Act I introduced with Senator Nelson would provide states with the flexibility and support they need to create state-based reinsurance programs to lower premiums while ensuring continued coverage for people with preexisting conditions. I am delighted our legislation was endorsed by Governor Sununu and Commissioner Sevigny, and I welcome their support in our efforts to improve our health care system.”
“We have to focus on finding ways to make health care more affordable,” Senator Nelson said. “This bill would help states establish their own reinsurance program which would, in turn, help stabilize the marketplace and reduce Floridians’ health insurance premiums.”
In September, the Senate Health Committee, on which Senator Collins serves, completed a series of bipartisan hearings to address the rising cost of premiums in the individual health insurance market. The Committee heard testimony from state insurance commissioners, governors, health policy experts, doctors, and patient advocates.
Senators Collins previously served as the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, a position which oversees Maine’s Bureau of Insurance, while Senator Nelson previously served as Insurance Commissioner in Florida.