Snow covers the park in front of the State House in Augusta on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine legislative committee unanimously endorsed a proposal Tuesday that supporters said would seek to stop insurance companies from double-billing patients for their prescription drugs.

The Maine Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee gave an 11-0 approval to the proposal by Democratic Sen. Heather Sanborn. Sanborn said the proposal concerns “co-pay accumulator programs” that insurers use.

Sanborn said the programs make it so forms of financial assistance that a patient receives don’t count toward their deductible. She and other supporters said the proposal would require insurance companies to include any financial assistance used by a patient when they calculate deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Sanborn said the use of the programs “effectively nullifies any benefit someone would get by accepting financial assistance, and saddles them with additional costs they weren’t planning for.”

The proposal still needs the approval of the full Maine Legislature.