Maine might require insurance to cover COVID-19 tests, shots

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Legislature will consider a proposal that would require insurance companies to cover COVID-19 tests and immunizations and waive any co-payments related to them.

Senate President Troy Jackson and Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau, who are both Democrats, unveiled the “COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights” on Monday.

The proposal will be the first bill of the new session of the Maine Legislature, Democratic leaders said. Lawmakers were sworn in last month.

Jackson said the proposal is about making sure patients around the state maintain access to critical healthcare services during the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights brings us closer to the end of this crisis, and the hold COVID-19 has had over our lives,” he said.

The proposal also includes provisions that ease requirements for telehealth visits. It is also designed to allow residents to get larger supplies of their prescriptions to reduce the number of visits to a pharmacy.

Proponents of the bill said they planned to amend the proposal to also require testing sites to inform uninsured patients about any costs they will have to carry. They said other changes were also planned, such as allowing pharmacists to administer coronavirus vaccines.

The Maine Legislature Office of the Presiding Officers said the proposal “is about making sure nothing prevents Mainers from getting the health care they need to protect themselves, their families and loved ones from this serious virus.”

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