Update From Annapolis..

Consumer Health First had a busy day in Annapolis on Wednesday. First up, we testified in support of a bill we proposed this session: HB 134 (SB 174) - Health Insurance – Health Benefit Plan Premium Rate Review Process. This bill was introduced by Sen. Thomas Middleton and Del. Ariana Kelly, as a vehicle to provide the Maryland Insurance Commissioner with additional tools for the analysis of annually proposed health insurance rates. These tools 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. 

You can read our testimony in support of this legislation here.

Next up, we testified in opposition to HB 115 (SB 13) - Electronic Prescription Records Cost Saving Act of 2018. Introduced by Sen. Jim Rosapepe, and Delegate Dan Morhaim et.al, 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.

This would include information about such sensitive health issues as contraception, pain treatment and medications for mental health conditions. Therefore, Consumer Health First opposes this bill on the grounds of concerns about patient privacy, given recent data breaches and the need for more safeguards.

You can read our testimony in opposition to this bill here.

And finally, last week, we testified in support of SB 29 - State Government - Websites - Language Access, which was introduced by Senator Cheryl Kagan. It is designed to strengthen the requirements for most state agencies to provide equal access versions of their websites in popular non-English languages spoken by at least 0.5% of the State population.  

You can read our testimony in support of this bill here.