It’s expected to make it easier for the uninsured to enroll in health care coverage.
Annapolis, Md (KM). Governor Larry Hogan on Monday signed several health-related bills on Monday, including one to set up an Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program.
The Program would let the uninsured begin the process of signing up for coverage through when they fill out their state income tax returns. They would check off a box indicating whether they had health insurance or not. If they didn’t, they would be contacted about health insurance plans, and be provided with assistance in signing up.
“It;s a wonderful, bipartisan way to break the gridlock on health care, and get people insured,” says Vinny DeMarco, the President of the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative. He and other supporters worked to get this bill passed during the 2019 General Assembly Session.
DeMarco says it will benefit all Marylanders because with more people enrolled in health care coverage, it will increase the insurance pool, and keep premiums down. He calls it a “win-win” for Maryland.
In addition, it will complement the work of the Health Exchange which was set up after passage of the Affordable Care Act. “The Exchange has been working very well in Maryland, and we’ve dropped our uninsured rate by half. But now we can do even better because we believe there are about 120,000 or 130,000 Marylanders who are eligible for free or low cost health care who haven’t enrolled, and pay taxes,” says DeMarco.
The Governor also signed other health care bills. One would increase the age for the purchase of tobacco products, vaping materials and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21. Another piece of legislation would improve the state’s ability to build community health, addiction and developmental disabilities facilities by increase the state’s share of its commitment to the project. A third bill would provide tax subsidies to small businesses which offer health benefits to their employees. Another measure would require correctional faculties to offer all three medication=assisted treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration to inmates diagnosed with opioid use disorder, and all inmates would be screened for mental h health and substance use disorders.
But DeMarco says a bill to set up a commission to review the high cost of prescription medications was not signed on Monday by the Governor. “We’re waiting to hear from Governor Hogan. We hope he will sign that bill also. He has not made a decision. We know it’s under consideration,” he says.
By Kevin McManus