Opinions on Maryland's Healthcare Exchange

On July 28, 2011 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius turned the national healthcare reform spotlight on Maryland by authoring an Op-Ed article that was published by the Baltimore Sun. The article refers to the current state of the health insurance market-place in Maryland and outlines what the market-place will look like after the Exchange is operating. Differing opinions on the outlook of the health insurance market-place in Maryland were offered by Janet Trautwein, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters and by NAIFA-MD and MAHU Lobbyist Bryson Popham. An Op-Ed article, authored by Janet Trautwein, was published by the Baltimore Sun on August 11, 2011. Additionally, Bryson Popham submitted an Op-Ed response, which has yet to be published, but can be read here.

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Health Benefit Exchange Act

Many of you may recall that Governor Martin O'Malley signed the Health Benefit Exchange Act into law back in April of this year. This Act set several processes in motion. First, the Act defined the Exchange as a public corporation and an independent unit of State government. Next, the Act requires the formation of four advisory committees, each given a specific aspect of the newly formed Exchange to study. Additionally, each advisory committee must complete their studies and provide their findings to the Exchange Board by the middle of November, 2011. The Exchange Board must then present the recommendations outlined in the studies to the Legislature by December 23, 2011. Below is a list of the newly formed advisory committees. You can learn more about each committee by clicking on title below.

Operating Model and Insurance Rules Advisory Committee
Small Business Exchange (SHOP) Advisory Committee
Navigator and Enrollment Advisory Committee
Finance and Enrollment Advisory Committee

After the Health Benefit Exchange Act was signed into law, a call went out from the Exchange Board for individuals to submit applications to serve on the advisory committees. The Association of Health Underwriters was very fortunate to have many of its members submit applications and several members were subsequently asked to serve. Our Association is being represented by nine members serving on each of the four advisory committees. Should you see any of these individuals at an upcoming meeting, please thank them for their continued willingness to serve our clients and each of us. Below is a list of the Association members that are working with the advisory committees.

Operating Model & Insurance Market Rules Committee
Jonathan Anders
Mark Sucoloski

Navigation & Enrollment Committee (Includes Advertising & PR issues)
Mike Cumberland
Jay Duke

SHOP (Small Business) Committee
Shawn Brashears
Lee Diemer
Jon Frank
Bill Simmons

Financial Sustainability Committee
Al Helfenbein

It’s clear that we have a very strong Association that values continued advocacy on behalf of small-businesses, individuals and our Association membership. Each of us has the responsibility of advancing the efforts of our Association by staying up-to-date on the developments concerning the Health Benefit Exchange Act. You can learn more about the committees by reviewing the Exchange Advisory Committees: Rules and Responsibilities. Also, you can stay up-to-date on the Exhange Board by reading the minutes from previous meetings and reviewing the topics that are on the agenda for future meetings.

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