The 2018 General Assembly is off to a busy start. As of this morning, 1,670 bills have been introduced in the House and 1,078 in the Senate. A significant number focus on multiple aspects of access to health coverage and care, and many are specifically designed to mitigate the negative impact of federal actions and, in some cases to improve the Affordable Care Act.
One high priority for which we ask your support is:
SB878 / HB1312: Health insurance - Medicaid Buy-In Task Force sets out a strategy that will help to address both of these issues. Consumer Health First is grateful to the bill sponsors, Senator Brian Feldman (D15) and Delegate Ariana Kelly (D16), for taking up our recommendation to explore this important policy option.
The bill 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.
- Read the bill here.
- Find a fact sheet here.
- Read our Press Release here.
- Show your support today. A hearing is scheduled in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, February 21, at 1:00 PM, and we need people to support our testimony. Sign up here to show your support.
- Share your story - if you have a story that relates to your ability to afford insurance or are impacted by having only one carrier in your area please - tell us your story.
- Donate now to Consumer Health First to support our policy, advocacy and education agenda. We can't do this without you!
- Last week we reported on another bill (SB174/HB134 - Health Benefit Plan Premium Rate Review Process) that is based upon Consumer Health First's leadership on Maryland's process to review proposed rates. At the bill hearing (read our testimony) we appreciated hearing of the Maryland Insurance Administration say that CHF is "a great resource to Marylanders on rate review... making sure that we are doing our job." We look forward to working with the MIA and other stakeholders throughout the session and during the next rate review process this summer.
- Another bill that we are following closely is SB387: Health Care Access Program - Establishment (Maryland Health Care Access Act of 2018). This is a complex bill that includes provisions relating to a reinsurance program, the individual mandate and more. A hearing is scheduled in the Finance Committee on February 21st at 1:00 PM.
- On Tuesday, we submitted testimony for SB284: Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Dental Coverage for Adults. This bill requires Medicaid to provide limited dental coverage for adults beginning on January 1, 2020. You can read our testimony here. The Baltimore Sun has more details on this bill and its importance.
- There are many other bills that we have included on our legislative page. We believe these will be of interest to our members although CHF won't necessarily be taking a pro-active approach to them.