Insurance Expansion to Local Health Departments Gives Options to Community

Senate Bill 858 expands health care insurance coverage to care from local health departments.

SB 858 would require insurance carriers to offer insurance contracts to LHDs for the delivery of covered treatment services including behavioral health care services. Currently, only some insurance carriers either contract or have agreements with LHDs and only for a limited selection of services.

This would greatly expand access to community members to the array of direct services and resources that local health departments provide. Many rural areas of the state rely on local health departments to provide a significant amount of services, particularly focusing on mental and behavioral health.

LHDs can choose to be added to carriers’ networks, which would significantly expand access to care and health services for those in each community.

From MACo Testimony:

Expanding insurance coverage to LHDs would significantly improve the ability for patients around the state to receive cost-effective and quality treatment within their communities. This is especially important for behavioral health care access. In Maryland, 19 jurisdictions are federally designated mental health provider shortage areas, and a number of those are also deficient in substance use providers. In many rural areas of the state, LHDs are the sole providers of behavioral health services. This bill saves patients from traveling significant distances to receive services from other providers at greater costs.

SB 858 supports LHDs’ efforts to deliver vital public health services and increases patients’ access to that care.”

For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.

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