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April 2013 St@teside

Maryland's Health Progress Act of 2013

In addition to the passage of legislation (HB361) that conforms Maryland law to address the federal consumer protections and insurance market reforms going into effect in 2014, the Maryland 2013 legislative session ended with Governor O’Malley signing into law the Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013. The bill expands Medicaid eligibility and puts in place the remaining policies necessary for Maryland’s health benefit exchange to begin operations. 
The new law supports several essential provisions critical to health reform implementation including:
  • Expanding Medicaid to 133 percent of federal poverty; 
  • Establishing a dedicated funding stream for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) from the existing premium tax on health insurers; 
  • Providing for the migration of Maryland Health Insurance Plan (the high risk pool) members in a manner that eases their transition and mitigates the potential impact on premium rates; 
  • Allowing for the development of a State reinsurance program to counteract potential short-term pressures on premium rates; 
  • Establishing policies to promote continuity of care when individuals transition between Medicaid and commercial insurance; and
  • Making other changes necessary for the MHBE to achieve final certification as a state-based exchange.
Of note - the continuity of care provision - one of many issues that Maryland’s Medicaid Director, Chuck Milligan, has championed is gaining attention from other states attempting to address that issue. The law now establishes policies that minimize harmful disruptions in a patient’s care and includes unique provisions that focus on care delivery as opposed to changing benefits.