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Media Advisory: Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative Urges State to Continue to Stabilize Premium Costs for Health Insurance Sold to Individuals and Small Businesses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                Contact: Vincent DeMarco
July 16, 2019                                   410-591-9162

Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative Urges State to Continue to Stabilize Premium Costs for Health Insurance Sold to Individuals and Small Businesses
New Easy Enrollment Health Plan and Prescription Drug Affordability Board will help bring down insurance costs

Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative is urging the Maryland Insurance Administration to continue to protect consumers and stabilize premium costs for health insurance sold to individuals and small businesses in the state. The Insurance Administration is hearing testimony today on health insurance plans and premiums proposed by several providers.

“In considering the proposed rates, we encourage the Maryland Insurance Administration to continue to make protecting consumers and reducing the high cost of premiums its top priorities,” MCHI Deputy Director Stephanie Klapper wrote in testimony being delivered today. “The next step to stabilize the market is to encourage as many young and healthy individuals to enroll in coverage as possible.”

A key step in increasing such enrollment is now possible thanks to legislation enacted this year by the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Hogan, creating the Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Plan (MEEHP). Under MEEHP an uninsured Marylander will be able to start the enrollment process by simply checking a box on their state income tax return. This will allow Marylanders to easily use information they already provide each year on their tax forms to apply for health coverage.

MCHI estimates that at least 70,000 Marylanders could buy health coverage and have the cost covered by existing federal subsidies.

“MEEHP provides the opportunity to bring many more young and healthy Marylanders into the individual market, which makes implementing MEEHP well crucial to the market’s long-term stability,” Klapper said.

MCHI also pointed to legislation creating a state Prescription Drug Affordability Board to bring down the cost of drugs, a major driver in the rising price of health insurance. “The Board will evaluate expensive drugs and recommend appropriate methods for addressing these costs, including setting upper limits on what Marylanders would pay for them, which in the long term should result in more stabilized premiums overall,” Klapper said.

MCHI also noted the importance of action taken by the General Assembly and Governor Hogan in 2018 to create a reinsurance program, which helped to prevent insurance premiums from skyrocketing.