On the session’s last day, among the bills awaiting final resolution were HB 552 / SB 703, bills about medical insurance with effects on health insurance companies, local governments, and small businesses. After several meetings of House and Senate work groups, in which MACo participated, the House version of the bill appears headed toward final passage and the Governor’s signature.
The Senate Finance committee voted this morning to concur with the House version of the bill which changes rules for self-insuring entities and requires a study of the self-insurance market. Advocates of the rule-change pointed to the need for change based on requirements for employers to provide certain insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
The House version of the bill sets an arbitrary state minimum attachment point – meaning any employer choosing to become self-insured, including a county, would be obligated to retain risk of 120% of expected claims. The Senate had amended the bill to delay the bill’s effect on local governments who join a government health insurance cooperative. The legislation passed today by the Senate Finance Committee does not include that amendment, however.
The version of the bill that passed limits the incentives for county and municipal governments seeking to join the Local Government Health Cooperative, diminishing their options for providing health insurance and threatening the long-term viability of the Cooperative. MACo opposed the legislation and advocated for a local government exemption from the law pending a study of the subject.
In the Senate hearing this morning, Chairman Middleton shared his intent to write a letter to the Maryland Insurance Administration Commissioner noting that the study he conducts pursuant to the legislation should include the legislation’s effect on local governments and faith-based organizations.
As of Monday morning, the most updated documents available are online here: