Governor Ceremonially Signs Legislation to Ban Health Insurance Caps
April 6, 2010
AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci held a State House ceremony today to celebrate the signing of LD 1620, "An Act To Protect Health Care Consumers from Catastrophic Debt,” into law. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham), protects health insurance consumers from annual and lifetime health benefit caps.
Among the supporters of the bill in attendance for the ceremony was Theresa D’Andrea, whose husband Rocky advocated for the bill, and who passed away from cancer just days before the bill’s passage in the Maine Legislature. Theresa D’Andrea now faces $60,000 in unpaid medical bills because her husband’s care in his last months was not covered by insurance due to a cap on the policy.
“This is an important piece of consumer protection legislation,” said Governor Baldacci. “As the very moving story of Rocky and Theresa D’Andrea shows, it’s often too late that someone understands or even knows what annual or lifetime caps are under their health insurance plan.”
Theresa and Rocky’s story was described by President Barack Obama during his visit to Maine last Thursday. The President cited the D’Andreas as an example of why eliminating insurance caps is needed. The federal comprehensive health reform package passed and signed into law by the President last month eliminates the caps, but those provisions do not take effect until 2014.
“The President recognized Theresa and said that no family should ever have to go through what she and Rocky did, and he’s right. That’s why Representative Berry, the D’Andreas and Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, among others, fought so hard for this bill,” said the Governor. “Maine’s law will go into effect before the provision against caps in the federal law, and so once again, Maine stands proud to be a leader in health care.”
Governor Baldacci signed LD 1620 on April 1, 2010. The law applies to health plans issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2011.