As of January 1, private health insurance providers in Maine were no longer allowed to subject abortion coverage to cost-sharing requirements such as deductibles and co-pays.
Signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills (D) over the summer — alongside a number of other abortion-related bills — LD 935 prohibits private insurers from imposing “deductible, copayment, coinsurance or other cost-sharing requirement” on those seeking an abortion.
“The reality is that few people have the savings to afford a medical emergency, and cost-sharing most severely affects those with the fewest financial resources,” said Rep. Moonen in a statement published earlier this year by the governor’s office. “For those in need of access to abortion, those costs can mean a month’s rent or a car payment.”
“Scrambling to come up with the extra money for these out-of-pocket costs can cause delays in care, pushing a woman later into pregnancy and potentially further into economic distress,” Moonen concluded. “LD 935 will ensure that more Mainers do not struggle to access this most basic of care.”
Earlier this year, Mills signed into law one of the least restrictive abortion policies in the country, effectively removing all statutory limitations on the circumstances in which an abortion may be performed.
Previously, Maine state law prohibited abortion after the point of viability except in cases where the life or health of the mother was in jeopardy, but under LD 1619, women are allowed to abort their baby “after viability” if it is deemed “necessary in the professional judgment of a physician.”
LD 1619 officially went into effect in October of this year.
At that time LD 1619, only six other states – including Alaska, Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont – and Washington, D.C. had similar laws on books allowing doctors, without restriction, to authorize abortions at any point during a pregnancy.
As the 131st Legislature enters its second session, state lawmakers continue to consider the issue of abortion.
LD 780 — sponsored by Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc) and carried over from the previous session — proposes an amendment to the state’s constitution that would enshrine a right to abortion by protecting “a right to personal reproductive autonomy.”
If passed, voters would be asked to weigh in on the amendment next November and would require support from the majority of Mainers in order to take effect.
When LD 935 was signed into law, only seven other states — including California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington — had similar provisions on the books that required private insurers to cover abortions but prohibited providers from imposing any of out-of-pocket costs for them.