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Governor Ceremonially Signs Health Care Legislation

August 24, 2009

AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today ceremonially signed LD 1205, “An Act to Establish a Health Care Bill of Rights,” and LD 1444, “An Act to Protect Consumers and Small Business Owners from Rising Health Care Costs.”

“Maine remains a national leader on health care reform and consumer protections,” Governor Baldacci said. “This legislation will improve transparency in the health insurance marketplace and provide the public with more information about the quality and cost of health care services.”

LD 1205 gives the State’s insurance superintendent more authority to oversee rate increases and allow consumers to more easily compare health insurance plans. The new law will also require insurance companies to provide clear, understandable explanations of the benefits when a claim is filed so that consumers have a better understanding of what is covered under their policy.

LD 1444 requires the Advisory Council on Payment Reform and the Maine Health Data Organization to promote public transparency of the quality and cost of health care by publishing financial and quality information about health care services in a formal that is easily accessible for consumers.

The bill directs the Advisory Council to develop proposed reforms for payment reform in this State, including provider incentives for cost-effective and patient- centered health care, and deliver these recommendations to the Legislature by January 2010.

Governor Baldacci was joined at the ceremony by bill sponsors, Sen. Phil Bartlett and Rep. Sharon Treat. Also attending the ceremony were members of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee and supporters of the Legislation.

The laws go into effect on Sept. 12.

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