Maine's Bipartisan "Right to Shop" Bill Shows State Innovation to Lower Health Care Prices

May 04, 2018

Maine enacted a bill seeking to encourage consumer engagement by allowing consumers direct access to health care price information, incentivizing “shopping around” for health services by giving financial rewards to patients who choose high-value providers, and permitting patients to utilize out of network providers so long as they are lower cost.

Empowering small business employees: Coupling transparency with incentives to shop may drive real change, as this method has shown promising results with employees at large companies.  The Maine law is the first to introduce the same concept to employees at small companies and those buying insurance on their own.

Why it was passed: “The cost of [health] care has reached a point where affordability has become a huge hurdle for most of our citizens,” said State Sen. Rod Whittemore (R), who sponsored the measure.

Why it matters: While the legislation may not directly impact self-insured plans, it shows the kind of innovation and experimentation that we will continue to see as the momentum of health care reform moves from the federal government to the states.