Give A Little Love...

It's December - as you are buying gifts and celebrating the Holiday Season, don't forget about those less fortunate in your giving plans. We here at Consumer Health First work hard every day to do just that: expand health care coverage to those less fortunate, because we believe health care is a right - not a privilege for the few who can afford it. To understand how health insurance has helped change people's lives, read their stories here, and then give generously.

Thank You!

We can't thank you enough for your generosity on Giving Tuesday and throughout the year. 

One reason your support is so important is that it means that we can continue to bring the consumer perspective to Maryland's legislative, policy and regulatory agenda.  For example, just last week:

  • Consumer Health First Vice-President, Leni Preston, spoke at the meeting of the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission. She cited CHF's position in support of an individual mandate and urged the Commission to explore options for long-term funding for the reinsurance program. Find video of the meeting and resource materials here

  • She and Beth Sammis, CHF President, met with staff at the Maryland Insurance Administration to discuss the new HHS grant-funded project. Insurance Commissioner, Al Redmer Jr., stated that the purpose is "... to  do the analytical research work necessary to explore all of our options related to consumer protection and market reforms." Learn more about the project here

Consumer Health First will be tracking the progress on these and multiple issues. We couldn't do this without your support. So, if you missed Giving Tuesday, please donate today. 

Get Engaged and Give!

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For over a decade, Consumer Health First has led a consumer movement to ensure that all Marylanders have access to high-quality, comprehensive and affordable health care.

During that time we have had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Marylanders. Learn more about our successes in 2018.

Today, the movement we have built together, is more important and more challenging than ever. If we are to continue to be successful we need not only your financial support - be it small or large but we also need you!

  • Make a donation here

  • Become a health care consumer advocate. There are many ways to do that and we can help. Contact us for more information.

Do you remember when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed? At the time Congressman Elijah Cummings (MD-7) wrote, "The American people waited for over 100 years for this legislation..." Consumer Health First was proud to work for passage of that federal law. Then, we took the lead to ensure that the voices of Marylanders were heard as it was implemented in our state. We made sure that consumers were represented everywhere decisions were made:

  • In Annapolis as laws were drafted and passed;

  • At the countless workgroups as policies were drafted for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and the Maryland Health Connection website was designed; and

  • On committees as our state's unique transformation of the health care delivery system became a reality.

Our guiding mission was to fulfill the promise of the ACA for equitable access to health care so that all Marylanders would have the security of knowing that they can get the care they need -when and where they need it.

With that promise fulfilled we can create healthy and thriving communities for our children to grow up in and a state that is fiscally sound and welcoming for all. Those goals, however, are threatened today as we look at threats of federal "repeal" legislation and the "death by a thousand cuts" approach to the ACA that could mean insurance carriers again rejecting those with a pre-existing condition as mild as acne and as serious as cancer.

That is a future none of us wants to see. Therefore, Consumer Health First remains totally committed to addressing all of the challenges ahead even as we look for opportunities to build a stronger health care system in Maryland.

Please join our movement - the time is now. Donate today.

Open Enrollment Starts Today!


Rate are down, but shop around!

That’s the motto for this year’s open enrollment season. Go to to shop for plans and enroll. There’s a moble app, too, if you want to use your phone. But health insurance is complicated. If you have existing health conditions or established relationships with particular doctors — or if you are just having a hard time figuring out the difference between deductibles and copays and co-insurance — trained people in Maryland who can help you figure it out are just a phone call away. (The number is 855-642-8572.) In-person help is also available from a network of insurance brokers. You can find one close to you by searching here. The health benefit exchange is holding a series of enrollment events around the state. A calendar is here.

Take advantage of the free help. There’s a lot more to consider than the sticker price of a plan, and a navigator can make finding the right one a lot easier.

The "Public Charge" Rule, and What it Means for Immigrant Families

The Trump administration has released the long-awaited full version of the proposed changes to the "public charge" rule. The impact of the rule would be to force immigrant families to choose between receiving vital federally-funded health, food and housing assistance or being eligible to apply for green cards or visas.

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The proposed rule would disproportionately harm women and children, and would widen the definition of public charge to include four additional types of public benefits: 

  • non-emergency Medicaid coverage, 

  • premium and cost-sharing assistance for low-income people receiving Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, 

  • SNAP food assistance and housing assistance (i.e. Section 8 voucher and public housing)

  • and a new income requirement; immigrants must make at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Medicaid expansion has helped tens of thousands of Marylanders get access to vital health services in our state. Many of those are immigrants. ANY attempt to limit access to Medicaid services is a huge step backwards.

For more information on the impact of this damaging and inhumane policy, read the Kaiser Family Foundation report which estimates that the proposed rule could lead to between 2.1 to 4.9 million Medicaid/CHIP enrollees to disenroll. 

The 60 Day Comment Period Ends 12/10/18

  • It is critical to voice your opinions about these proposed changes! The Protecting Immigrant Families coalition has created an action page with guidance and a template that you can use to submit your comments, which can be accessed here.