patient bill of rights

Maine Lawmakers Propose COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights

The proposed bill would mandate insurance companies provide health care services like testing and vaccinations beyond the state of civil emergency declared by Gov. Janet Mills

NBC Universal, Inc.

A couple of Maine lawmakers are proposing a COVID-19 patient bill of rights which would last beyond the state of civil emergency declared by Gov. Janet Mills.

This week, Maine Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford, and Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, unveiled L.D. 1, An Act to Establish a COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights.

The proposal includes measures that would mandate health insurance companies and organizations provide coverage for COVID-19 related services like testing and vaccinations. It would also prevent insurance carriers from imposing cost-sharing requirements.

"All those things in that bill are things we're heard from constituents on almost a daily basis," Jackson said. "Having that enshrined in statute probably makes it more clear for people and more understandable that this is the law, you shouldn't be confused by an insurance company."

Katherine Pelletreau, the executive director of the Maine Association of Health Plans, an industry group representing companies Aetna, Anthem, Cigna and Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare, said her group is reviewing the document and plans to be part of public hearings on it when they happen.

Beyond insurance, the bill contains provisions that explicitly allow pharmacists to give COVID-19 vaccines and allow registered nurses to prescribe supplies of drugs to patients for up to 180 days if Maine's governor declares a state of emergency.

A spokesperson for Mills said she is, "in the process of reviewing the legislation, which appears to be in line with measures she has taken during the period of an emergency including supporting telehealth."

It's not clear whether or not Mills would sign the proposed law as written.

Public legislative committee hearings on the COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights have yet to be scheduled.

Changes are being made to how the vaccine will continue to be rolled out in Maine.
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