New England stories from the region's top public media newsrooms
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New Maine law goes into effect eliminating out-of-pocket abortion care costs

This May 15, 2019, file photo shows a sign in front of the Planned Parenthood offices in Richmond, Va.
Steve Helber
/
AP file
This May 15, 2019, file photo shows a sign in front of the Planned Parenthood offices in Richmond, Va.

A new Maine law taking effect Monday ensures that women with private health plans who seek abortion care do not need coinsurance, and cannot be charged a copayment or required to meet a deductible.

The new law eliminates out-of-pocket costs for patients seeking abortion care, stopping insurance companies from enforcing deductibles or other cost-sharing fees before they will cover care.

Lisa Margulies, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, says cost can be a huge barrier to access for many women who need abortion care in a timely fashion.

"Few people have the savings to afford a medical emergency," she says, "and these costs can be catastrophic. Those costs could mean a month's rent, day care for their children, a car payment and then push them closer to poverty."

Margulies says the average deductible for an employer-sponsored health plan can be $2,600 or more, and the cost of an abortion ranges from $500 to $1,500.

Lawmakers also passed laws last year that remove restrictions on abortions by allowing the procedure after viability with approval by a physician and that include privacy protections for abortion data.

Two other laws protect Maine providers from other state laws that restrict abortion, and bar municipalities from enacting ordinances that regulate abortions if a health facility comes under new ownership.