PORTLAND – As Mainers ring in the new year, patients and reproductive rights advocates are celebrating a new law taking effect January 1 that makes abortion care more accessible and affordable in the Pine Tree State.
LD 935, An Act to Remove Barriers to Abortion Coverage in Private Insurance, sponsored by Representative Matt Moonen (D-Portland), prohibits insurance companies from requiring patients meet deductibles or other cost-sharing fees before they will cover care. This law removes financial barriers that often forced people later into their pregnancies while they scrambled to find the money for care that, per Maine law, was covered by their insurance policies.
Maine lawmakers passed LD 935 in June 2023, during the first full legislative session since the U.S. Supreme Court revoked federal protections for abortion. Lawmakers also passed bills that expanded access to abortion care throughout pregnancy, implemented protections for providers offering abortion care, ensured continuity of reproductive health care in the event of mergers, and protected the right to abortion care, regardless of where in Maine someone lives. Those laws took effect last fall.
Meagan Sway, Policy Director, ACLU of Maine:
“As states around the country continue to push abortion out of reach for everyday people, the ACLU of Maine is proud to see our state make it easier for people to get abortions when they need them. LD 935 is crucial for people with low incomes who may face long delays or denial of care as they gather funds to cover a copay. Obstacles to obtaining an abortion — including high costs — disproportionately keep people of color, with low incomes, and in rural areas from accessing abortion care. Health care decisions belong between patients and their providers — not in company board rooms — and LD 935 will move Maine one step closer to being a state where all people can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”
Statement from Lisa Margulies, Esq., Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund:
“We celebrate this step forward in addressing access and affordability of abortion care in Maine with LD 935. Patients with state-regulated health insurance plans can now be assured access to the abortion care they need, when they need it, without unnecessary financial burdens of meeting high deductibles and other cost-sharing.
Few people have the savings to afford a medical emergency, and for those in need of abortion care, those costs mean people are pushed further into their pregnancies while they work to secure the out-of-pockets costs for the procedure.
LD 935 is a step towards aligning the right to abortion care granted under Maine’s current laws with the financial realities of accessing essential health care. We are proud of every Mainer who made their voice heard last legislative session to help this and other bills pass, and we appreciate that our elected leaders listened to their constituents as well as medical providers and responded to their needs.
We look forward to working with Mainers and all Maine lawmakers to continue centering the needs of Maine people, of patients and of the providers who care for them, in advocating for policy that protects reproductive liberties and keeps Maine moving forward."
Dr. Connie Adler, Board Chair, Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights (GRR!):
"Abortion is essential, time-sensitive health care and should not be a right only the privileged can afford. LD 935 removes a significant barrier to access for Mainers already struggling to make ends meet. LD 935 now begins to materially change lives, and we're proud to have been one of many organizations who gave voice to its necessity."
Aspen Ruhlin, Community Engagement Manager, Mabel Wadsworth Center:
"One of the biggest barriers that patients face when accessing abortion care is finances. The overwhelming majority of Mainers do not have the funds to easily pay for essential and time-sensitive medical care unexpectedly. With LD 935 becoming law, private insurance in Maine will now cover abortion care without cost-sharing to patients. Health insurance exists to cover healthcare costs, and this new law helps put insurance to work for Mainers. The positive impact of this can not be understated–abortions are essential healthcare that face undue stigma and shame, and removing this element of financial hardship will reduce significant stress for Mainers seeking abortion care."
George Hill, President and CEO, Maine Family Planning:
"As an abortion provider in some of the most rural parts of the state, Maine Family Planning wholeheartedly welcomes the passage and signing of LD 935, An Act to Remove Barriers to Abortion Coverage in Private Insurance, and applauds Rep. Matt Moonen for his leadership in sponsoring the measure. Among the many hurdles patients face when attempting to secure an abortion, the financial challenge is chief among them. This legislation removes that barrier for patients with insurance by eliminating associated co-pays. Its importance is exponentially amplified at a time when patients no longer have the federal protections previously afforded by Roe v. Wade.”
Destie Hoffman Sprague, Executive Director, Maine Women’s Lobby:
"The passage of LD 935 is a powerful step forward in ensuring that everyone who needs an abortion can afford one. Too often, co-pays and deductibles create a financial barrier to abortions. LD 935 helps to close this gap and support people's ability to get the care they need affordably."
Abbie Strout-Bentes, Executive Director, Safe Abortions for Everyone (SAFE) Maine:
"Today, we are celebrating! The new law LD 935, which ensures that no Mainer with insurance has to pay out-of-pocket for abortion care, is a critical step toward the healthcare landscape we need and deserve. During this time of relentless attacks on reproductive freedom, we are grateful for Maine’s lawmakers and leaders who are listening to the majority of Mainers and working to expand and protect abortion access in our state."