COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights becomes law, making COVID tests and vaccines free in Maine
The bill was sponsored by President Jackson and Speaker Fecteau and became law Wednesday, March 25
AUGUSTA – A bill from Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash and House Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford to establish a COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights became law without the governor’s signature on Wednesday.
LD 1, “An Act to Establish the COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights” requires state-regulated health insurance companies to cover COVID-19 screening, testing and immunization at no cost to the patient. It also prevents health care providers from charging patients any sort of fee-related to these types of services.
“As more Mainers become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine each day, lawmakers must ensure nothing prevents any Mainer who wants to get vaccinated from getting their shot. The COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights ensures that all Mainers with state-regulated health insurance will be able to access COVID-19 testing, screening and vaccination at no cost to the patient,” said President Jackson. “In Maine, we are finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With this law in effect, we can get through this crisis and begin rebuilding.”
“The immense relief felt by Maine people who have received their first vaccination, now almost 30% of Mainers, is life-changing. As of today, there is a new provision in Maine law that says COVID-19 vaccinations and testing must be available at no cost to Maine people. I’m proud that the COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights makes sure nothing prevents Mainers from getting the health care they need to protect themselves, their families and loved ones from this serious virus,” said Speaker Fecteau. “This bill makes sure cost is not a barrier to any Mainer in our fight against COVID-19.”
Although uninsured Mainers should be able to access testing and vaccination at no cost, the amended proposal includes language to ensure that if an uninsured Mainer is at a testing site that doesn’t have a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services:
- they are made aware of the cost ahead of time;
- they are made aware of alternative sites where they can get tested for free;
- and they are provided with the MaineCare form to get reimbursed for testing if they choose to get tested at a site without a DHHS contract.
The new law takes effect immediately.