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Jun 17, 2017 7:57 PM

Maine passes law to allow 12-month supply of birth control

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Democrat's bill to allow women to receive up to a 12-month supply of prescribed birth control has become law without Republican Gov. Paul LePage's signature.

Most Maine insurance providers currently have a one-month or three-month limit.

The law will go into effect this fall.

Rep. Jay McCreight says her bill will help remove barriers to consistent access to hormonal contraceptive supplies and improve the health of babies and mothers.

"Arbitrary limits to contraception increase the risk of gaps in access and therefore of unplanned pregnancies," she said. "When pregnancies are planned, the pregnancies are healthier, the babies are healthier and the mothers are healthier."

The bill passed unanimously in the House and with a 25-10 vote in the Senate.

The Maine Medical Association said at a hearing there are no medical reasons why patients shouldn't receive their prescriptions for up to a year.

McCreight cited the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health policy nonprofit, saying more than two dozen states are considering similar bills this year as the federal Affordable Care Act faces potential overhaul.

Currently, fewer than a half-dozen states have such laws in place.

In its original form, the bill proposed no cost-sharing for any types of hormonal contraceptives, including pills and a patch. The insurance industry had worried that the bill could apply to forms of contraceptives that are more costly for insurers.

The bill was amended during the public hearing process to require coverage for at least one type of contraceptive without cost sharing.

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