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.

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

Interested in previous 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

Current Committee:
SB 28: Passed out of Finance Committee, over to House Government and Operations Committee

Status: 
SB 28:  Passed all three readings unanimously as of 2/08/19. Headed to House Government and Operations Committee.


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

Status: 
SB 36 = Hearing in Senate Finance Committee, February 6 at 1:30 PM

HB 127 = Hearing in House Health and Government Operations Committee, February 7 at 2:00 PM


HB 86 / SB 765

Health Insurance - Continous Coverage - Change in Employment Status
Introduced by Delegates Wilkins, Charkoudian and Moon

Extending from 18 to 36 months, under certain circumstances, the period of time for which certain group contracts are required to provide continuation coverage for insureds who have experienced a change in status as the result of termination of employment other than for cause; 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 written testimony.

Committees: 
SB 765 = Finance Committee / HB 86 = Health and Government Operations

Status: 
SB 765 = Finance Committee Hearing on February 27 at 1:00 PM

HB 86 = Health and Government Operations Hearing on February 7 at 2:00 PM.


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

Status:  SB 301 = Senate Finance Committee Hearing, February 28 at 1:00 PM

HB 145 = Hearing in House Health and Government Operations Committee, February 6 at 2:00 PM


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

Status: 
SB 239 = Hearing in Senate Finance Committee, February 6 at 1:30 PM

HB 258 = Hearing in House Health and Government Operations, February 14 at 1:00 PM


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

Status: 
HB 296 = Hearing in HGO Committee, February 12 at 1:00 PM


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:

Committees: 
HB 378 = Health and Government Operations

Status: 
HB 378 = Health and Government Operations, hearing March 14 at 1:00 PM


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:

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

Status: 
SB 405 = Senate Finance Committee Hearing, February 20, 1:00 PM

HB 435 = Health and Government Operations Hearing, March 7, 1:00 PM


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

Status: 
SB 356 = Senate Finance Committee Hearing, February 14 at 1:00 PM

HB 583 = Health and Government Operations Hearing, February 27 at 1:00 PM


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:

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

Status: 
SB 631 = Senate Finance Committee Hearing, March 6 at 1:00 PM

HB 599 = Health and Government Operations Hearing, February 28, 1:00 PM