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2015 General Assembly: A Look Back & What's Ahead

The coalition held a webinar on May 15th. This webinar began with A Look Back - providing an overview of the 2015 Session and the budget and legislative outcomes.  In the What's Ahead section, we discussed the high priority health care reform related issues that advocates will be addressing. These included: on-going issues with outreach and enrollment; the New All-Payer Model; health literacy and consumer engagement; network adequacy; and more. 

Get info about our presenters, see the recording and more.

Take our survey to let us know how we can help you.


Patient & Family Network Seeks Volunteers

Your insights as a patient or caregiver can help doctors, hospitals and nursing homes deliver better care. VHQC, the Medicare Quality Innovation Network for Maryland and Virginia, is seeking volunteers to contribute their experience to statewide healthcare improvement initiatives. 
Their work includes projects that focus on:
• living well with diabetes or heart disease, 
• avoiding infections in healthcare facilities,
• coordinating care after discharge from the hospital,
• and improving quality in nursing homes.
You will be able to choose how and when you want to be involved, based on your schedule and interests. Opportunities include reviewing educational materials, sharing your healthcare story, serving on an advisory committee, participating in educational events and conducting community outreach.
To learn more, complete an interest form on the VHQC website or contact Sarah Helen Studebaker at or 804-289-5320. 

Affordability - it remains an issue

1 in 4 Americans with health insurance skip care due to cost.  Those are the findings released last week by Families USA based upon research done by the Urban Institute, 1 in 4 Americans with health insurance had to skip care due to the cost.   A key driver is high deductibles ($1,500) and the report notes that 30% had "exceedingly high" deductible of $3,000.   The report goes on to state -  "Health insurance has been getting less and less generous in recent years for many Americans, experts say, making it difficult for them to pay for care even when they have insurance, a trend that predates the Affordable Care Act."

Our thanks go to the great team at Families USA for putting these valuable resources together:

  • Learn how carriers might design silver plans with affordable cost-sharing.

Issues of Interest

FY2016 Budget:  Almost lost in the coverage of Governor Hogan's decision on school funding was the announcement that critical health-care related provisions for the FY2016 budget will be fully funded, including pre-natal services and coverage for pregnant women as well as physician rates for Medicaid.  The Coalition is grateful to the General Assembly for including these in the budget bill and appreciate the Governor's recognition of their importance. Read a write up about this in the Baltimore Sun.

2016 Insurance Rates:  The Maryland Insurance  Administration posted the proposed rates for2016 health insurance plans.   Three carriers proposed rate decreases -- All Savers/United Healthcare; Cigna; and United Healthcare of the Mid-Atlantic.  Three carriers proposed increases - CareFirst's were the highest ranging from 27% to 30% across three plans. 

The deadline for public comment is June 15.  You can find information here.   

Learn more about the financial health of three top insurance companies and why rate review is so important.

The Coalition will work with our partners to analyze the rates and submit comments.  If you want to be part of that effort let us know.  

Read more in the Baltimore Sun.


State of Women - Health Plan Violations

Despite the protections of the ACA, some carriers continue to charge co-pays for contraception.  And there are violations in other areas as well.  The National Women's Law Center has released two relevant reports. 

  • Learn more about the issues.
  • The Coalition is going to look into this issue in Maryland - please  contact us if you are aware of women who are facing challenges in this area.       

Clarifying Coverage of Contraceptives

The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury issued guidance to clarify consumers' rights to coverage of preventive services under the Affordable Care Act.

Click to read more ...


Maryland in the News

There are many reports and articles out right now that have to do specifically with Maryland's health care system:

Click to read more ...