AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate has unanimously voted in favor of a bill by State Senator Justin Chenette, D, of Saco, that would extend insurance coverage requirements to include naturopathic care for appropriate services.

Chenette represents District 31, covering  Hollis, Limington, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, and part of Buxton.

LD 1030, An Act to Require Nondiscrimination Policies in Providing Health Care Services, as amended would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against care received from a naturopathic doctor practicing within the scope of their license, according to a press release from Christine Kirby, communications director for the Senate Democratic Office.

The bill faces further action in the House and Senate before it can receive final approval. 

“This marks a big win for Mainers who were previously unable access the licensed health care provider of their choice,” said Chenette in a written statement. “It closes loopholes in Maine law and puts Maine health care consumers first. I am pleased that my colleagues in the Senate could come together and support this bill in a bipartisan way.”

Currently, loopholes in Maine law allow for insurance companies to opt-out of covering health care providers offering alternative or naturopathic treatment, even if that treatment is licensed, certified or registered by the state of Maine, according to Kirby.

 The amended bill requires insurance coverage for services provided by licensed naturopathic doctors as long as those services are within the scope of their license and would be reimbursed by other licensed doctors, said Kirby. New Hampshire and Vermont are among states that already require more choice in the insurance marketplace.

“Maine people with chronic health care issues already have enough to worry about. They shouldn’t have to worry about loopholes in the law that allows insurance companies to limit their treatment options,” said Chenette. “I am thrilled that we are one step closer to ensuring Mainers will be able to access the critical care they need.”

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected] 

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