Direct Primary Care Legislation Becomes Law

Contact:
Krysta West
Communications Director
Senate Republican Office
(207) 287-1505
krysta.west@legislature.maine.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUSTA – On Thursday, June 1, the Governor signed LD 1385, “An Act Governing Direct Primary Care Membership Agreements,” into law. Sponsored by Senator Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset), this new law clarifies existing law to provide patients and physicians with more choice by defining this model of care in statute.

Since 2013, a new model of primary care has taken hold in Maine, called direct primary care, with around 10 providers now practicing in various locations around central and southern Maine. More practices are expected to open their doors now that this model of care is protected by law.

Direct primary care providers follow a different model of health care, eliminating all third-party influence from the patient-physician relationship by removing insurance companies from the healthcare equation altogether. Instead, patients enter into a contract with the physician, often paying a flat monthly fee for services in exchange for unlimited access to their primary care physician. This model allows patients increased access to their primary care physician and allows physicians greater control over their practice.

The new law protects this model of healthcare by:

  • Ensuring that patients are free to seek care outside of an insurance plan and pay for such care
  • Ensuring that physicians and other medical professionals are free to accept payment for services and medical products outside of an insurance plan
  • Most importantly, stipulating that direct primary care membership agreements are not insurance and are not subject to regulation by the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Bureau of Insurance

“I am thrilled that this bill received such broad, bipartisan support throughout the process,” said Sen. Whittemore. “It is a commonsense measure that will provide consumers with more choices when seeking high-quality healthcare and providers with the security needed to expand and flourish in Maine.”

This new law will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the year.

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