LD 1539 would require private insurers in Maine to cover fertility care for the first time
Governor Janet Mills signed LD 1539, An Act to Provide Access to Fertility Care, on May 2, 2022 and will hold a ceremonial signing for the law today in Augusta. The law requires private health insurance policies in Maine to provide coverage for medical interventions, including fertility diagnostic care, fertility treatment, and medically necessary fertility preservation.
Resolve New England (RNE), a non-profit organization that provides support, education and advocacy for fertility patients, led the coalition to support LD 1539, which includes the LGBTQ legal advocacy organization GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
RNE and GLAD issued the following statements praising Governor Mills for signing the bill into law:
“Every day we hear from people across New England who are struggling with fertility and family building. Without insurance coverage, many individuals and couples in Maine are deep in debt trying to make their dreams of parenthood come true, if they can even afford to try.” says Kate Weldon LeBlanc, executive director of Resolve New England. “We are thrilled to see Governor Mills sign this important, pro-family legislation. This new law will greatly improve access to fertility care for all Mainers hoping to grow their families, including couples with infertility, LGBTQ+ people, cancer survivors and more. “
“Fertility care is critical care for so many people, including LGBTQ+ people. Yet, without insurance coverage, it is out of reach for many due to the cost,” said Polly Crozier, Senior Staff Attorney at GLAD, who was joined by EqualityMaine in their testimony. “We are grateful to the Legislature and Governor Mills for their actions to ensure fertility coverage that is inclusive and best practice.”
BLY Attorney Mary Bonauto added, “Fertility is a problem for many people, and this care will allow people to bring children into their lives when they would otherwise be unable to do so. This law will more fairly support Maine people in building their families and will provide more families with access to quality, timely care.”
The bill’s effective date is 1/1/24 and allows the Bureau of Insurance time to address “reasonable limitations” on coverage. With the enactment of LD 1539, Maine joins states across the country that have recognized that it is sound public policy to help people build their families and enable them to love and nurture our next generation of Mainers. New Hampshire passed a coverage bill in 2019, and fertility care laws in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been in place for decades and have become part of the makeup of the states’ health care systems. With LD 1539, 20 states across the country now have fertility insurance laws, including all of the New England states except Vermont.