Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

March 20, 2019

Mills signs law strengthening health care coverage for all Mainers

Courtesy / Governor's office Caption: Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday signed into law L.D.1, which strengthens health care coverage in the state.

Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday signed a new law strengthening health care coverage for all Mainers.

The measure, introduced in January by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, requires insurers to include basic patient protections in Maine health care plans, codifying into state law requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

The law, which was bill LD 1, says that any insurance company “shall, at a minimum, provide coverage that incorporates an essential health benefit” and codifies into state law consumer protections outlined in the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.

Strong bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate passed bill, which allows children to be covered under their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26.

“I will not leave critical health care protections for Maine people to the whims of Congress or the courts,” Mills said in a news release. “I am proud that our state has taken this important step of strengthening the laws that protect critical coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and other essential health benefits. From this moment on, Maine people can rest assured that whatever happens outside of Maine, they will not be denied coverage here in Maine.”

The governor’s office said there are an estimated 230,000 non-elderly adults living with pre-existing conditions. Besides ensuring that no Mainer living with pre-existing conditions will be denied coverage, the law prohibits charging seniors substantially higher rates because of age, bans lifetime and annual caps on coverage and requires 10 essential benefits, including ambulance services, prescription drugs and pediatric care.

Jackson, who told Mainebiz in January that “health care is a human right,” said that as someone with a pre-existing condition, he understands what threats to patient protection mean for families.

“While we still have a long way to go to make health care more affordable and more accessible for everyone,” he added, “I hope workers and parents can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing lawmakers in Maine have their backs.”

Gideon, referencing the fact that rural hospitals have closed and the “outrageous cost” of medication and insurance premiums, added that health care problems Mainers face are real and daunting.

“With this bill,” she said, “we take an important first step toward addressing these issues and making permanent change that will benefit all Mainers.”

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF