The Maine Bureau of Insurance has issued an order saying that if an employer lays off or furloughs a worker and wants to continue offering employer-sponsored group health insurance coverage to the worker, the company’s health insurance provider can’t deny coverage.

The bureau issued the order Friday, a supplement to Gov. Janet Mills’ executive order Monday that, in part, authorized Maine Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa to exercise emergency powers for the duration of the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

It was unclear whether Cioppa’s supplemental order was issued at the request of Maine employers.

“To avoid the risk that people might lose their health benefits coverage when the need is greatest, I am ordering (insurance) carriers, when requested by an employer, to suspend the application of any group health plan contract provision that terminates coverage when an eligible employee is no longer actively employed by the group policyholder, provided that the employer’s offer of continued coverage is made to all affected employees on a nondiscriminatory basis,” the order says.

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