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Press Statement by Jim Miller

General manager of Wooden Boat Publications

State House, Augusta, Maine
October 19, 2010 11:00 AM
Welcome Center

Jim MillerGood morning. I am Jim Miller, general manager of Wooden Boat Publications in Brooklin, Maine. Our small company is composed of 33 staff members who have health insurance, as do 17 of their spouses and 17 of their children. In total, we have 67 lives on our Anthem insurance policy. Before our latest policy renewal in May of 2010, WoodenBoat had spent $284,000 per year in premiums. Wooden Boat paid 68 percent of that amount and our employees paid the rest.

Upon renewal, we experienced a 17 percent increase in premiums, which is an increase of $48,000. Frustratingly, there is nothing we can do to offset this increase in cost, nor is there anyway to understand why our premiums increased by such a large amount. When it comes to health insurance carriers, we have one alternative to Anthem. When Anthem decides on new rates or requires more profit, we are given a "take-it-or-leave-it" offer. This year we decided to "leave it" and will be gambling more of our company's money on self-insuring a major part of everyone's deductible. I wonder why employers need to gamble on healthcare for staff and their families.

We are also faced with competition from international magazines located in countries that offer national health care. They are at a cost advantage as are the U.S. magazines that have chosen to drop coverage due to cost.

We all hope that the Affordable Care Act will bring some improvements to our company's health insurance situation, and, like many others, we are trying to manage until 2014. History will judge whether this new federal legislation is truly better than what we now have.

My real hope for the future, and the main reason I am participating in Maine AllCare, is to bring universal, not-for-profit health care to all Mainers, which will in turn help us to reduce and control our company's health care costs. That way, we can really concentrate on growing our business and bringing more jobs to Maine people.