2018 Legislative Agenda

Maryland's 2018 General Assembly Session opened on Wednesday, January 10 and will end on Monday, April 9 (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 regular basis and post legislation of interest in two categories.  Bills that:

  1. Address the larger goal of consumer-centric health care reform and, specifically ensure 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;
  2. CHF believes will be of interest to our members and partners, but which will not be receive our full advocacy efforts.

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

Interested in previous legislation:

CategorY #1

HB 1312 (SB 878)

Medicaid Buy-In Task Force
Introduced by Senator Brian Feldman, and Ariana Kelly

Consumer Health First proposed this legislation, which would create a Medicaid Buy-In Task Force to study and make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on the feasibility of providing consumers with additional health care coverage options. Specifically, it would  address two issues:

  • Affordability: Particularly for those who are just above the threshold to receive financial assistance. With the rapid and dramatic increase in coverage premiums, these individuals, many of whom are self-employed, are now unable to afford health insurance. They include a self-employed woman in Anne Arundel County who can no longer afford her premiums and who  has said, "I hope that I do not have a catastrophic injury or illness before I am eligible for Medicare in three years."
  • Choice of Benefit Plans: Particularly for those in the 13 counties and parts of three others which are served by only one insurance carrier.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation.

Current Committee:
SB 878 = Finance Committee / HB 1312 =  Health and Government Operations

SB 878: Hearing 2/21 at 1:00 p.m. / HB 1312: Hearing 2/22 at 1:00 PM 

HB 134 (SB 174)

Health Insurance – Health Benefit Plan Premium Rate Review Process                              Introduced by Sen. Thomas Middleton and Del. Ariana Kelly

Consumer Health First has proposed this legislation as a vehicle to provide the Insurance Commissioner with additional tools for analysis of proposed health insurance rates.  These include taking into consideration the:

  • Past and prospective loss experience, in and outside the State, including specific experience with high-risk members.
  • Impact the rate increase will have on improving health outcomes and lower claims cost for enrollees.
  • Mission of nonprofit health plans to provide affordable, accessible health insurance, support initiatives for the uninsured, and promote health care system integration. 

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation: Read our Testimony

SB174 = Finance / HB 134 = Health and Government Operations

SB174 = Hearing 1/31 at 2:00 PM /  HB134 = Hearing 1/31 at 2:00 p.m.

HB 780 (SB 744)

Insurance - Contraceptive Coverage - Consumer Information
Introduced by Senators Delores Kelley et al, and Delegates Samuel Rosenberg et al.

Requires insurers to provide consumers with all contraceptive coverage information in a single document. 

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation

Current Committees:
SB 744: Finance / HB 780: Health and Government Operations

Last Action:
SB 744: Hearing 2/21 at 1:00 p.m. / HB 780: Hearing 2/22 at 1:00 PM

HB 994 (SB 774)

Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Family Planning Services
Introduced by Senator Joanne Benson and Delegate Erek Barron

Requires the Department of Health to apply for a state plan amendment to the family planning program that:

  1. provides family planning services, subject to state budget limitations, to individuals up to 250% of the poverty level as allowed by federal law,
  2. does not impose age limitations on who may receive family planning services,
  3. establishes presumptive eligibility for enrollment, and
  4. exempts the family planning program from federal coordination of benefits requirements if authorized under federal law.

Uncodified language requires the Department of Health to establish a workgroup of interested stakeholders to: 1) advise the department on ways to streamline the enrollment process through presumptive eligibility and use the program to encourage eligible individuals to enroll in full health insurance coverage through Medicaid or another plan, and 2) make recommendations to ensure that all program participants have access to the full range of contraceptive options appropriate for the participant. The department must report to the general assembly by December 1, 2018.

Coverage of 12-Months Dispensing: Also requires MCHIP and Medicaid to provide coverage for a single 12-month dispensing of prescription contraceptives. Currently law provides for 6 months coverage.

Consumer Health First SUPPORTS this legislation.

Current Committee:
SB 774: Finance / HB 994: Health and Government Operations

Last Action:
SB 774: Hearing 2/28 at 1:00 p.m. / HB 994: Hearing 3/6 at 1:00 PM

HB 1132 (SB 858)

Health Insurance - Access to Local Health Departments
Introduced by Senators Jim Rosapepe and Delegates Joseline Pena-Melnyk et al.

Requires health insurance carriers to cover services provided through local health departments, including behavioral health care services. Also requires a carrier’s access plan to include information on its efforts to include local health departments in its network. The bill takes effect January 1, 2019.

Current Committee:
SB 858: Finance / HB 1132: Health and Government Operations

Last Action:
SB 858: Hearing 2/28 at 1:00 p.m. / HB 1132: Hearing 3/1 at 1:00 PM

HB 1167 (SB 1011)

Protect Maryland Health Care Act of 2018
Introduced by Senators Brian Feldman et al., andDelegates Joseline Pena-Melnyk et al.

Establishes a state individual mandate to purchase health insurance. Any penalties would go into a state account which could be used as a “down payment” to purchase insurance on the Exchange.

If someone is eligible for Medicaid, the Exchange will make efforts to enroll that individual in Medicaid.

Current Committee:
SB 1011: Budget and Taxation; Finance / HB 1167: Health and Government Operations

Last Action:
SB 1011: Reassigned to Finance and Budget and Taxation / HB 1167:  

HB 1283

Health Insurance - Prescription Contraceptives - Coverage for Single Dispensing
Introduced by Delegates Ariana Kelly et al.

Current law requires insurance cover 6-months of dispensing of contraception. The bill extends it to 12 months.

Current Committee:
Health and Government Operations

Last Action:
Hearing 3/1 at 1:00 PM

HB 1477 (SB 886)

Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Work and Community Engagement Requirements - Waiver
Introduced by Washington County Senators and Delegate Neil Parrott

Requires the Department of Health, by October 1, 2018, to apply for a federal waiver to implement a demonstration project establishing work or community engagement requirements on all Medicaid eligible able-bodied adult enrollees (does not include those who are Medicaid eligible due to a disability).

Consumer Health First OPPOSES this legislation.

Current Committee:
SB 886: Finance / HB 1477: Appropriations

Last Action:
SB 886: Hearing 3/14 at 1:00 p.m. / HB 1477: Hearing 3/1 at 1:00 PM

HB 1504

Task Force to Study Reinsurance to Reduce Health Insurance Premiums
Introduced by Delegates Clarence Lam et al.

Creates the Task Force to Study Reinsurance to Reduce Health Insurance Premiums in order to study the feasibility of creating a State reinsurance program for high-cost enrollees and whether it would stabilize the health insurance market. 

Current Committee:
Health and Government Operations

Last Action:
Hearing 2/22 at 1:00 p.m.

SB 387

Health Insurance - Health Care Access Program - Establishment (Maryland Health Care Access Act of 2018)
Introduced by Sen. Thomas Middleton

Creates an individual mandate and reinsurance program in the State of Maryland. 

  • Requires an insurance carrier to pay an assessment on premiums under certain circumstances beginning January 1, 2019;
  • Establishes as a purpose of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to seek approval of and carry out a waiver 1332;
  • Requires MHBE to establish and oversee the implementation of a Health Care Access Program;
  • Requires an individual to maintain certain health insurance coverage and requires that an individual pay a penalty for failing to do so.

Committees: Finance

Status: Hearing 2/21 at 1:00 p.m

categorY #2

HB 115 (SB 13)

Electronic Prescription Records Cost Saving Act of 2018
Introduced by Sen. Jim Rosapepe, and Delegate Dan Morhaim et.al.

The purpose of the bill is to make the health information exchange into a tool for providers to check medication history. To accomplish this, the bill requires dispensers to submit prescription drug information to the Health Information Exchange and allows health care providers to access patient medication history, including those by another provider.

Consumer Health First OPPOSES this legislation: Opposed for patient privacy and trechnical concerns. Read our Testimony

Current Committee:
SB 13 = Finance Committee / HB 115 =  Health and Government Operations

SB 13: Hearing 1/31 at 2:00 p.m. / HB 115: Hearing 1/30 at 1:00 p.m. 

HB 135 (SB 137) 

Health Insurance – Coverage for Male Sterilization – High–Deductible Health Plans 
Introduced by Senators Riley and Serafini and Delegates Hill and Kipke

Allows High-Deductible Health Plans with health savings accounts to require a deductible for male sterilization.

Current Committee: 
SB 137: Finance / HB 135: Health and Government Operations
SB 137: Hearing 1/31 at 2:00 p.m. / HB 135: Hearing 2/08 at 1:00 p.m.

HB 160 (SB 185)

Budget Bill - Fiscal Year 2019
Introduced by Senate President and Speaker of the House of Delegates et al.

Making the proposed appropriations contained in the State Budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, in accordance with Article III, Section 52 of the Maryland Constitution; etc.  

Current Committee: 
SB 185: Budget and Taxation / HB160: Appropriations
SB 185: First Reading Budget and Taxation (1/17): BH (2/16); PHPA (2/16); MHBE (2/22); Med (3/1)  / HB160: First Reading Appropriations (1/17): MHBE (2/14); BH (2/15); PHPH (2/19); Med (3/5)

HB 282 (SB 385)

Health Insurance - Coverage for Diagnostic Examinations for Breast Cancer
Introduced by Sen. James Mathias et al., and Del. Aruna Miller et al.

Prohibits insurance carriers who provide coverage for breast cancer screening and diagnostic examinations to charge deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance for diagnostic examinations that are more than what is charges for breast cancer screenings. 

Current Committee: 
SB 385: Finance / HB282: