2019 Legislative Agenda

Maryland's 2019 General Assembly Session opened on Wednesday, January 9 and will end on Monday, April 8 (Sine Die). During that period, Consumer Health First (CHF) will analyze proposed legislation to identify bills that will address its mission of health equity through access to high-quality, comprehensive, and affordable health care. 

To educate our members, other stakeholders and the public, we will update this page on a weekly basis and post legislation we support. Legislation that addresses the larger goal of consumer-centric health care reform and, specifically ensures that the advances made through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act remain in place in Maryland. CHF will pro-actively advocate for these bills. There are a few bills we will actively oppose. Those can be found at the bottom of the list.

Click on the bill number to go directly to the bill summary, details, status, and history.

UPDATE: As we near the end of General Assembly, you can find the current status of all bill in the bills “history” section, and a list of bills that have passed both houses here.

Interested in previous legislation:


Consumer Health First Supports the Following Legislation


SB 28

Health Insurance - Coverage Requirements for Behavioral Health Disorders - Short-Term Limited Duration Insurance
Introduced by Chair, Finance Committee et al (departmental request from the Maryland Insurance Administration)

Maryland law currently requires health plans to provide benefits for the diagnosis and treatment of a mental illness, emotional disorder, drug use disorder, or alcohol use disorder.  These health plans include group, blanket, and individual plans.  The bill adds short-term, limited duration plans to that list.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our written testimony


HB 100 / SB 125

Budget Bill (Fiscal Year 2020)  Introduced by the President and the Speaker

Making the proposed appropriations contained in the State Budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, in accordance with Article III, Section 52 of the Maryland Constitution; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation:

Committees: 
SB 125 = Budget and Taxation / HB100 = Appropriations


HB 127 / SB 36

Health Insurance - Health Benefit Plans - Special Enrollment Period for Pregnancy  Introduced by Senator Lam and Delegate Kelly

This bill requires small employer and individual health benefit plans to provide a special enrollment period allowing an individual who becomes pregnant, as certified by a health care practitioner, to enroll in a health benefit plan.

A pregnant woman must be allowed to enroll at any time after commencement of the pregnancy, and the special enrollment period must remain open for the duration of the pregnancy. Coverage must become effective no later than the first day of the month in which the woman receives certification of pregnancy.

The bill applies to all health benefit plans issued, delivered, or renewed in the State on or after January 1, 2020. 

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our written testimony.

Committees: 
SB 36 = Finance / HB127 = Health and Government Operations


HB 145 / SB 301

Hospitals - Patient's Bill of Rights   Introduced by Senator Benson, et al. and Delegate Young, et al.

Requiring each administrator of a hospital to provide patients with a certain patient's bill of rights; requiring each administrator of a hospital to provide certain patients with a translator, an interpreter, or another accommodation to provide certain assistance to patients; requiring each administrator of a hospital to conspicuously post copies of the patient's bill of rights on the hospital's website and in areas of the hospital accessible to patients; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our written testimony

Committees: 
SB 301 = Finance / HB 145 = Health and Government Operations


HB 258 / SB 239

Health Insurance - Individual Market Stabilization - Provider Fee Introduced by Senator Feldman and Delegate Pena-Melnyk

Altering the purpose of certain provisions of law requiring that certain entities be subject to a certain assessment on all amounts used to calculate a certain premium tax liability or the amount of the entity's premium tax exemption value; and requiring that certain entities be subject to certain assessments for certain calendar years in which the federal government makes an assessment and for certain calendar years in which the federal government does not make an assessment under a certain provision of federal law.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our written testimony.

Committees: 
SB 239 = Finance / HB 258 = Health and Government Operations


HB 296

Health Occupations - Pharmacists - Disclosure of Price and Cost Share for Prescription Drugs Introduced by Delegate Shetty

Requiring, at the point of sale, a certain pharmacist or the pharmacist's designee to inform a retail consumer, to the best of the pharmacist's or pharmacist's designee's knowledge, of the retail price for a prescription drug and, under certain circumstances, the cost share for which the retail consumer is responsible for the prescription drug; and requiring the State Board of Pharmacy to adopt certain procedures.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation. Click here for our written testimony

Committees: 
HB 296 = Health and Government Operations


HB 378

Public Health - State-Provided Health Care Benefits Introduced by Delegate Reznik

Establishing the Office of Health Care Coverage in the Maryland Department of Health to establish and carry out the HealthcareMaryland Program to provide benefits to State residents who do not receive federal benefits through Medicare, TRICARE, plans that are subject to ERISA, or any other federal medical program; requiring the Office to contract with a certain number of managed care organizations; requiring certain employers to pay to the Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation a certain annual payroll tax; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here to read our testimony.

Committees: 
HB 378 = Health and Government Operations


HB 435 / SB 405

Health Insurance - Prescription Drugs - Formulary Changes Introduced by Senator Hayes and Delegate Kelly

Prohibiting certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations from making certain formulary changes during a plan year and the open enrollment period that precedes the plan year, except under certain circumstances; defining "utilization management restriction"; and applying the Act to all policies, contracts, and health benefit plans issued, delivered, or renewed in the State on or after January 1, 2020.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony

Committees: 
SB 405 = Finance / HB 435 = Health and Government Operations


HB 583 / SB 356

Health - Maternal Mortality Review Program - Reporting Requirement Introduced by Senator Nathan-Pulliam et al. and Delegate Wilkins et al.

Requiring the Secretary of Health to include in a certain annual report regarding the Maternal Mortality Review Program a section on racial disparities that includes a comparison of the maternal mortality rates of non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white women and data on changes in the maternal mortality rate by race and ethnicity.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our written testimony.

Committees: 
SB 356 = Finance / HB 583 = Health and Government Operations


HB 599 / SB 631

Health Insurance - Coverage for Mental Health Benefits and Substance Use Disorder Benefits - Requirements and Reports Introduced by Senator Augustine and Delegate Kelly.

Requiring certain carriers on or before July 1 each year to submit a report to the Maryland Insurance Commissioner to demonstrate the carrier's compliance with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act; requiring a carrier on or before July 1 each year to submit a report to the Commissioner on data for certain benefits by certain classification; requiring the reports to include certain information and be submitted in a certain manner; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here to read our testimony

Committees: 
SB 631 = Finance / HB 599 = Health and Government Operations


HB 697 / SB 868

Health Insurance - Consumer Protections Introduced by Senator Feldman et al and Delegate Pendergrass et al.

Repealing a certain provision of law applying certain provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act to certain health insurance coverage issued or delivered in the State by certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, or health maintenance organizations; prohibiting certain carriers from excluding or limiting certain benefits or denying coverage under certain circumstances; prohibiting certain carriers from establishing certain rules for eligibility based on health status factors; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony.

Committees: 
SB 868 = Finance / HB 697 = Health and Government Operations


HB 751

Health Insurance - Prior Authorization - Requirements Introduced by Delegate Hill

Requiring certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations to accept a prior authorization from a certain entity for any prescription drugs, devices, or health care services for the lesser of the course of treatment or 90 days; requiring a certain entity, under certain circumstances, to provide documentation of the prior authorization within 10 days after a request by an insured or an insured's designee; etc.Analysis:

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony.

Committees: 
HB 751 = Health and Government Operations


HB 768 / SB 759

Health - Prescription Drug Affordability Board Introduced by Senators Klausmeier and Lam and Delegate Pena-Melnyk, et al.

Establishing the Prescription Drug Affordability Board as an instrumentality of the State the purpose of which is to protect State residents and certain stakeholders within the health care system from the high costs of prescription drug products; requiring certain conflicts of interest to be considered when appointing Board members; requiring the Board to identify certain prescription drug products with certain costs; establishing the Prescription Drug Affordability Stakeholder Council; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here to read our testimony.

Committees: 
SB 759 = Finance / HB 768 = Health and Government Operations


HB 814 / SB 802

Maryland Health Insurance Option (Protect Maryland Health Care Act of 2019) Introduced by Senator Feldman, et al, and Delegate Pena-Melnyk, et al.

Establishing the Maryland Health Insurance Option and the purpose of the Option; requiring certain individuals who are under a certain age to maintain certain minimum essential coverage for the individual and certain household members; requiring a certain individual to pay a certain amount if certain coverage is not maintained for a certain period of time of a certain taxable year; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony

Committees: 
SB 802 = Finance / HB 814 = Health and Government Operations


HB 837 / SB 761

Health Insurance - Payments to Noncontracting Specialists and Noncontracting Nonphysician Specialists Introduced by Senator Klausmeier and Delegate Sample-Hughes, et al.

Requiring a carrier to inform members and beneficiaries of the procedure to request a certain referral to certain noncontracting health care providers; requiring, under certain circumstances, certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations to pay a certain amount for certain services provided to a member by certain noncontracting healthcare providers when a referral is granted to the member; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony

Committees: 
SB 761 = Finance / HB 837 = Health and Government Operations


HB 849 / SB 803

Health Facilities - Hospitals - Disclosure of Outpatient Facility Fees (Facility Fee Right-to-Know Act) Introduced by Senator Kelly, et al and Delegates Lewis and Pena-Melnyk

Requiring certain hospitals to provide each patient with written notice that includes certain information related to outpatient facility fees that are charged for services provided at the hospital; requiring that a certain notice be provided to certain patients in certain manners and at certain times; requiring that a certain notice be in plain language and in a certain form; prohibiting a hospital from charging, billing, or attempting to collect a certain fee unless the patient was given certain notice; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony

Committees: 
SB 803 = Finance / HB 849 = Health and Government Operations


HB 1169 / SB 895

Business Regulation - Tobacco Products and Electronic Smoking Devices - Revisions Introduced by Senator Kelley and Delegate Davis, et. al.

Increasing the amount of certain license fees; requiring certain licensees to post a certain sign in a certain location; altering the minimum age for an individual to purchase or be sold tobacco products; authorizing the Maryland Department of Health to conduct certain inspections of licensed retailers for a certain purpose; authorizing the Department to use certain individuals to assist in conducting a certain inspection; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony

Committees: 
SB 895 = Finance / HB 1169 = Health and Government Operations and Economic Matters


HB 1272 / SB 904

Maryland Department of Health - Family Planning Program - Funding Introduced by Senators Kelley and Elfreth, and Delegates Pendergrass and MacIntosh

Prohibiting the Maryland Department of Health from accepting certain federal funding under certain circumstances; requiring the Governor to fund the Family Planning Program with a certain level of State funds under certain circumstances; requiring the Governor to provide certain funding for certain family planning grants for fiscal year 2021 and each fiscal year thereafter; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony

Committees: 
SB 904 = Finance / HB 1272 = Health and Government Operations


HB 1273 / SB 599

Immigration Enforcement - County Boards of Education, Public Institutions of Higher Education, and Hospitals - Policies Introduced by Senator Nathan Pulliam, and Delegate Wilkins, et al

Requiring each county board of education, public institution of higher education, and hospital to establish a policy on or before July 1, 2020 that limits immigration enforcement on the premises to the fullest extent possible consistent with federal and State law based on certain guidelines established by the Attorney General; and requiring the Attorney General, in consultation with certain stakeholders, to develop certain guidelines on or before December 31, 2019.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony

Committees: 
SB 599 = Judicial Proceedings / HB 1273 = Judiciary


HB 1421

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange - Functions and Outreach Introduced by Chair, Health and Government Operations Committee at the request of the Governor

Requiring the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to conduct outreach and education activities to increase health literacy and to educate consumers about the Exchange and insurance affordability programs; and requiring the Exchange to perform certain functions for Maryland Medical Assistance programs, as requested by the Maryland Department of Health and approved by the Board of Trustees for the Exchange, for the efficient administration of Maryland Medical Assistance programs.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony

Committees: 
HB 1421 = Health and Government Operations


HB 1426

Health Services Cost Review Commission - Duties and Reports - Revisions Introduced by Chair, Health and Government Operations Committee at the request of the Governor

Altering the information required to be included in the annual report to be submitted to certain persons by the Health Services Cost Review Commission to include an update on the status of the State's compliance with the provisions of the current all-payer model contract; altering a certain reporting date from October 1 to May 1; authorizing the Commission, on request by the Secretary of Health, to assist in the implementation of federally approved model programs consistent with the current all-payer model contract; etc.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Click here for our testimony

Committees: 
HB 1426 = Health and Government Operations


Consumer Health First Opposes the Following Legislation


HB 806

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange - Individual Exchange - Copper Plans to Lower Rates Introduced by Delegates Morgan, et. al.

Requiring the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, contingent on the approval of a waiver application under a certain provision of federal law, to make copper plans available in the Individual Exchange to certain individuals; requiring the Exchange to certify a certain health benefit plan as a copper plan if the plan provides certain coverage; requiring the Exchange, on or before October 1, 2019, to apply to certain officials for a certain waiver in order to implement the provision of copper plans in the State; etc.

Consumer Health First OPPOSES this legislation: Click Here for our testimony in opposition.

Committees: 
HB 806 = Health and Government Operations

Status: 
HB 806 = Senate Finance Committee Hearing, March 14, at 1:00 PM