Last week, Governor Hogan announced that CMS has approved Maryland's 1332 State Innovation Waiver for a reinsurance program that he described as "the largest in the United States." This is an important step towards lowering insurance premiums in the individual market. We congratulate all those who contributed to what the Governor described as a "common sense and bipartisan" effort. [Click the links to find the statement of Michele Eberle, MHBE Executive Director and coverage in the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Business Journal.]
What are the next steps?
- Insurance carriers will resubmit their new rates with a hearing at the Maryland Insurance Administration scheduled for Monday, September 17. CHF will be testifying at the hearing and expect to reiterate the points we first made in our July letter to Commissioner Redmer.
- By next week, the MHBE Board will address the issue of any duplicate payments CareFirst may receive under the Federal risk adjustment program and Maryland's reinsurance program. (Find the July 16 presentation to the Board here.) The Board's decision will impact the new proposed rates. CHF provided its comments on this and related issues at a hearing on July 26.
- Regulations for the reinsurance program must be finalized before the end of the year. MHBE staff is to be commended for the very open process they carried out to get stakeholder input. In addition, to the comments cited above, CHF provided further input to the staff at the last of its four hearings.
As Delegate Pena-Melnyk said in the Baltimore Sun, this reinsurance program will "buy us time" to stabilize the individual market in the short term. We must now look at longer-term solutions and CHF will continue to be engaged in this process to assure Marylanders that health insurance premiums are equitable and affordable.