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Press Release: Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program Will Help Thousands Obtain Coverage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS:

Vincent DeMarco | 410-591-9162 | demarco@mdinitiative.org

 Lisa Holland | Families USA | 202-626-0640 | lholland@familiesusa.org

Marylanders Can Now Enroll in Health Insurance via Their State Income Tax Returns Thanks to Landmark Health Care Bill

 

Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program Will Help Thousands Obtain Health Insurance

Washington, D.C., May 13, 2019 – Today, Governor Larry Hogan, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, and House Speaker Adrienne Jones signed a first-of-its-kind health care enrollment bill into law. The Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program (MEEHP) will let Marylanders jump-start enrollment into health insurance by simply checking a box on their annual state income tax returns.

This process will let the state’s health care exchange determine eligibility for free or low-cost health insurance based on information sent electronically from the tax return. Those who qualify for Medicaid will be enrolled automatically, and the exchange will reach out to people who qualify for private coverage and help them sign up for a plan that works for them and their family. MEEHP is expected to help tens of thousands of Marylanders obtain health insurance, which will expand the pool of consumers who are insured and bring down premium costs for other enrollees.

The bill, which passed with broad, bipartisan support, should serve as a model by other states and the federal government for expanding health care access in a bipartisan way. To underscore this point, Families USA and the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative joined Maryland elected officials for the bill signing in Annapolis.

Sponsored in the House by Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (HB 814) and in the Senate by Sen. Brian Feldman (SB 802), the legislation builds on Maryland’s tradition of smart, practical, bipartisan innovation on health care. This tradition includes the state’s all-payer hospital system, the current Medicare hospital waiver that ramps up care coordination and lowers overall health care costs and last year’s bipartisan reinsurance bill, which stabilized the insurance market and lowered premiums in the individual market.

“The Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program will utilize existing resources more efficiently to get more Marylanders covered,” said Speaker Adrienne A. Jones. “It’s an out-of-the-box approach to protect the ACA and continue to bring down health care costs here.”

“The Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program will help tens of thousands of Marylanders get the health care coverage they need and also help keep premiums more affordable for all of us. We commend Governor Larry Hogan for signing this bipartisan measure into law and we urge other states to follow our example,” said Del Peña-Melnyk.

“By passing the Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program, the Maryland General Assembly showed that Democrats and Republicans can work together to improve health care for people. We will work closely with Governor Larry Hogan to make sure this measure is fully implemented so that it can help tens of thousands of Marylanders get the health care they need and can be a model for the nation,” said Sen. Feldman.

“I commend the State of Maryland for showing how we can work together in a bipartisan way to expand critically needed health care coverage. The Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program will help tens of thousands of Marylanders get the health care they need and should be a model for the nation,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

“The Maryland Health Care for All! Coalition commends the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Larry Hogan for enacting the landmark Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program. We will work with the Administration to make sure the law works as intended to expand critically needed health care coverage to tens of thousands of presently uninsured Marylanders. We urge other states and Congress to follow our lead,” said Vincent DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.

“The Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program represents the kind of initiatives we need to ensure health care is affordable and accessible to all. Through MEEHP, thousands of uninsured Maryland families will receive the financial security and access to health care that comes from high quality, affordable insurance by simply checking a box on their tax return. This is what innovation looks like. Families USA applauds Maryland for putting people before political partisanship. We are hopeful this kind of practical, bipartisan problem-solving spreads to other states,” said Frederick Isasi, Families USA Executive Director.

You can read a Health Affairs Blog entry about this legislation here.