Delegate Morhaim: More Locals Should Pool for Health Insurance

Delegate Dan Morhaim, a member of the state’s Procurement Modernization Commission and practicing physician, wants governments to pool health insurance purchasing – and explains why in an opinion piece for The Baltimore Sun:

Maryland’s various levels of government do not currently coordinate purchasing for health insurance. If they did, our analysis indicates that the average per employee cost decrease would be over $2,100 per year, amounting to tens of millions of dollars saved per year overall. These savings could be applied to reducing overall expenses as well as to provide improved coverage and lower co-pays and deductibles for employees.

Was there a legislative barrier that was holding back such a coordinated approach? Actually, there is not. In fact, Maryland law in Section 2-513 allows pooled insurance purchasing, and Section 2-512 even allows Maryland’s non-profits (also stretched financially) to join in. …

Experts predict that health insurance costs will continue to rise. That being the case, it’s imperative that those who have the fiduciary responsibility for these issues take a long-term view. I plan to introduce legislation this session to jump-start this process. There will be controversy, and it’s a daunting task, but the first key steps should be started now.

County procurement officers met with Delegate Morhaim at MACo’s offices about two months ago. They discussed interest in the concept, but provided examples of potential roadblocks. For example, one size may not fit all; some entities elect to provide their employees with greater coverage, while others are more limited as to what insurance offerings are available. However, some county governments do pool purchasing with their municipalities, school systems, community colleges, and libraries. In addition, Caroline County piggybacks off of the State of Maryland insurance plan.