• Stephen Buckingham

First Priority Bills Passed

On Monday, Marh 16, 2020, HB 196 and HB 959 became the first UULM-MD priority bills to pass completely through the Maryland General Assembly.

Sponsored by Delegate Pena-Melnyk and titled "Maryland Health Benefit Exchange-Assessment Applicability and Report on State-Based Individual Market Health Insurance Subsidies," HB 196 requires the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE), by December 1, 2020, to report certain information to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Health and Government Operations Committee as it relates to establishing State-based individual market health insurance subsidies in the State. The bill also clarifies that the health insurance provider fee assessment applies to health insurance products that were subject to a specified federal fee as in effect on December 1, 2019.

While the original bill would have initiated a program to provide subsidies, the amended bill will require the Exchange to report to the legislative committees the kind of information needed to begin such a program if enacted next year.

HB 959, sponsored by Delegate Pendergrass and titled "Health Insurance - Consumer Protections," establishes the consumer protection provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are currently specified through cross-references in Maryland law. It also establishes nondiscrimination provisions. The bill generally applies to any health benefit plan offered in the small group, individual, or large group markets and specifies exceptions for grandfathered plans. The Insurance Commissioner is authorized to enforce these provisions and must adopt specified regulations.

We hope that these are only the first of many priority bills to pass before adjournment on Wednesday.

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