AUGUSTA, Maine — Lawmakers on Friday enacted legislation that prohibits insurance companies from imposing annual, lifetime or other caps on the amount they will pay for covered medical services. The bill is headed to the desk of Gov. John Baldacci for signature and is expected to take effect Jan. 1, 2011. The provision will affect all health coverage policies issued or renewed after that date, including individual, small-group and large-group policies, with some exceptions such as transitional plans offered by some employers.
Insurance providers opposed the bill.
Limerick resident Richard “Rocky” D’Andrea, who spoke at a State House press conference in support of the Maine legislation, died from cancer last week, according to a statement from the advocacy group Consumers for Affordable Health Care. Because D’Andrea’s insurance policy included a cap on his benefits, his medical care leaves his widow with a debt of about $60,000, according to the statement.
A similar provision is included in the federal health care reform legislation recently enacted by Congress, abolishing lifetime caps within a year and annual caps by 2014.