AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate has approved a law change that would stop insurance companies from imposing waiting periods before they cover tooth decay treatment in children.

The Senate approved Democratic Sen. Heather Sanborn’s proposal on Tuesday.

Sanborn, D-Portland, said the waiting periods put children at risk because they leave children’s teeth susceptible to rapid decay.

Sanborn cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has reported that about 20 percent of children age 5 to 11 have at least one untreated, decayed tooth.

The proposal would be the first law of its kind in the U.S. to prohibit the waiting periods.

It will face more action in the Maine Legislature.

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