Maine Passes Law to Ban Health Insurance Caps
On April 1, 2010, Governor John E. Baldacci of Maine signed into law LD 1620, An Act to Protect Health Care Consumers from Catastrophic Debt. This new law will prohibit annual and lifetime limits on most individual and group health policies issued or renewed by health plans on or after January 1, 2011.
Lifetime insurance caps are aggregate spending limits placed on insurance benefits. Once these limits are reached, a health plan will no longer provide coverage. The same is true for individuals who are subjected to annual limits under their health policies, only this is a yearly occurrence. For people with chronic health conditions who have been denied coverage by their insurer after reaching an annual or lifetime limit, their options to date have been to take on additional debt to pay for medical treatment or go without treatment altogether.
Under the recent federal healthcare overhaul package passed by Congress and signed into law by the president in March, lifetime caps in all plans will be eliminated by the end of September and annual limits in most plans by 2014. The Maine law brings change much sooner for residents who would otherwise be subjected to annual limits.