2016

Health Benefit Plans - Network Access Standards and Provider Network Directories - This legislation was an outgrowth of two reports done in 2015 by Consumer Health First and the Mental Health Association of Maryland. These reports demonstrated the challenges consumers face in identifying a provider and then getting the services they need.

The final legislation, passed by both the Senate and House with unanimous votes, represented a coming together of advocates, insurance carriers and others.  The result is a consensus bill that includes a number of key provisions. These include a process to identify specific standards that carriers must address in designing their network of providers to ensure consumers' access to needed services.  It also puts in place provisions that will support greater accuracy in the information contained in the provider directories.

Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Specialty Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services - Parity - This legislation requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to adopt regulations to ensure that the Maryland Medicaid program to include standards regarding treatment limitations for specialty mental health and substance use disorder services.

Health Insurance - Consumer Health Claim Filing Fairness Act - This legislation requires insurance plans to include provisions that permit enrollees a minimum of 1 year to submit a claim for a service, provide for the suspension of the minimum period of time, and provide that failure to submit a claim within the minimum period of time does not invalidate or reduce the amount of the claim. You can read our testimony for this legislation.

Hospitals - Designation of Lay Caregivers - This important piece of legislation requires a hospital to provide a patient or the legal guardian of a patient with an opportunity to designate a lay caregiver before the patient is discharged from the hospital. Consumer Health First also testified for this legislation.

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene - Clinical Crisis Walk-In Services and Mobile Crisis Teams - Strategic Plan - This legislation requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop a strategic plan for ensuring that crisis services and teams are available statewide.

Health Insurance - Contraceptive Equity Act - This critical piece of legislation prohibits health insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and HMOs from applying a co-payment, coinsurance, or prior authorization requirement for specified contraceptive drugs and devices. It also requires a health insurer, nonprofit health service plan, and health maintenance organization to post its contraceptive formulary on its Web site.

Health Insurance - Large Employers - Disclosure of Aggregate Incurred Claims - This legislation requires a health insurance carrier to disclose the aggregate incurred claims of the group to a large employer if the carrier is experience rating the large employer's health benefit plan, within 30 days of a request.

Health Insurance - Reporting Requirements - Repeal - This legislation was sponsored by the Chair, Health and Government Operations Committee by special request of the Maryland Insurance Administration. It repeals a requirement that an annual report be filed with the Maryland Insurance Commissioner by insurers, nonprofit health service plans, health maintenance organizations, dental plan organizations, and specified other entities regarding a summary description of specified clinical issues and diagnostic and therapeutic services.

Open Meetings Act - Legislation requires a public body to provide an agenda containing specified information if the agenda has been determined at the time a public body gives notice of the meeting or, if an agenda has not been determined at the time of the meeting notice, provide the agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting; and authorizes that a public body provide an agenda within a reasonable time after a meeting is held under specified circumstances. You can read Consumer Health First's Testimony for this legislation.

Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Former Foster Care Adolescents - Dental Care- Legislation requires that Maryland Medicaid, subject to the limitations of the State budget, provide dental care for former foster care adolescents who, on their 18th birthday, were in foster care under the responsibility of the State.

Public Works Transparency Act of 2016 - This legislation requires the Secretary of Budget and Management to provide specified notice at least 10 consecutive days before the Board of Public Works may approve a reduction of appropriations; and requires the Secretary to provide written notice of the proposed reduction to the Legislative Policy Committee, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee.