- The Maine Wire - https://www.themainewire.com -

Governor LePage hails move to dismiss MEA health insurance lawsuit

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage applauds the end the lawsuit filed by the Maine Education Association (MEA) to withhold health insurance claims data from school districts that have requested it to pursue more affordable coverage. MEA filed filed a motion to dismiss the suit on Wednesday.

“School systems can now generate savings from their health insurance programs to reinvest in the classroom instead of wasting time and money fighting frivolous lawsuits,” said Governor LePage. “Last year, I challenged the MEA to increase their professional development spending by offering to match any increase in funding. That challenge remains unanswered. Perhaps now the MEA can refocus its attention on teachers.”

More than 70 schools have asked for the claims loss data from their insurance provider; that information would allow the schools to shop around for lower-cost healthcare coverage. Anthem, which is the insurance provider for the MEA Benefits Trust, will now be required to release claims data, on a district-by-district basis, when it is requested by the local school board.

Representative Ralph Sarty (R-Denmark) had introduced L.D. 1326 to require insurers, health maintenance organizations and non-profit hospital or medical service organizations to provide information concerning a school unit’s claims history as a member covered under a group policy. The MEA filed the lawsuit once Governor LePage signed the bill into law.

Both courts that have reviewed the case have ruled against the union’s motions for an injunction that would have allowed the Maine Education Association (MEA) to withhold health insurance claims data from school districts that have requested it to pursue more affordable coverage.