Maryland Senate OKs Bill on Health Exchange Problems - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Senate OKs Bill on Health Exchange Problems

Posted: Updated:

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)- The Maryland Senate voted Tuesday for an emergency measure to provide health insurance for people who tried to enroll online in the state's health exchange but couldn't because of computer problems.
 
The bill, which still needs House approval, would enable people to enroll in an already existing state insurance pool called the Maryland Health Insurance Program. The program is a separate safety net plan that has served as a high-risk pool for state residents without insurance. Because the bill is an emergency measure, it would take effect as soon as it is signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley, whose administration proposed the bill.
 
"We're not leaving anybody behind," Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert, said. "We don't want anybody saying in April or May: 'You know, I wish I got on board, but I was precluded by the government.' You're not going to be precluded by the government. You have an opportunity to participate in the program if you so desire."
 
State officials have estimated it could cost as much as $10 million to provide coverage for eligible residents. Supporters also have described the measure as a backup plan for residents who still are not able to enroll, even after four health exchange providers agreed last week to extend a signup deadline to 5 p.m. Tuesday for people to enroll effective Jan. 1. By widening potential participants in MHIP, the state is creating a way to cover people who fall through the cracks, supporters said.
 
Four Republicans joined 34 Democrats in voting for the bill. Eight Republicans voted against it.
 
Republicans who voted for the bill said they did not support President Barack Obama's health care reform law or the state's decision to create its own health exchange, but they believe the state must act help people hurt by the flawed roll after the health care overhaul became the law of the land.
 
"This is the remediation for those people that have been harmed," said Sen. David Brinkley, R-Frederick.
 
Republican Sens. Edward Reilly, of Anne Arundel County, George Edwards, of Garrett County, and Allan Kittleman, of Howard County, also voted for the bill.
 
Opponents have criticized a lack of information about past and continuing problems with the exchange. They contend too many questions remain about costs to move forward with the emergency bill or even the state exchange. Sen. Christopher Shank, R-Washington, criticized the state of "gross mismanagement."
 
Democratic U.S. Rep. John Delaney on Tuesday urged the state's health secretary to switch to the federal exchange while problems with Maryland's are resolved.
 
"In Maryland, we're falling well short of our enrollment goal for private coverage and we're also sending Medicaid enrollees faulty applications containing the private information of strangers," Delaney wrote to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein. "These are egregious and unacceptable errors that raise serious doubts about the viability of our exchange."
 
State officials initially estimated between a few hundred and 5,000 people could end up enrolling in MHIP under the legislation. However, supporters say the number will be less than first expected after the four exchange providers decided to extend the signup deadline. Through Sunday, 458 households had signed up for retroactive coverage, said Dori Henry, a spokeswoman for the health department.
 
About 22,510 residents had enrolled in private plans in the exchange through Jan. 11, state officials reported Friday. In addition, 29,517 had enrolled in Medicaid, and another 93,514 were rolled automatically into Medicaid through the Primary Adult Care program. The state is trying to extend health insurance to 260,000 by March 31.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • $10 Million Grant to Study STDs

    $10 Million Grant to Study STDs

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:29:38 GMT
    The University of Maryland Schools of Dentistry and Medicine have received a $10.7 million grant over five years to study the causes, prevention and treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases.More
    The University of Maryland Schools of Dentistry and Medicine have received a $10.7 million grant over five years to study the causes, prevention and treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases.More
  • Cause of Hebron Church Fire Still Unknown

    Cause of Hebron Church Fire Still Unknown

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:25 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:25:28 GMT
    The cause of the fire that destroyed St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Hebron last week is still unknown.More
    The cause of the fire that destroyed St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Hebron last week is still unknown. More
  • Park Service Reduces Assateague Horse Herd to 100

    Park Service Reduces Assateague Horse Herd to 100

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:13 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:13:10 GMT
    Technically speaking, horses are as foreign to the sands of Assateague Island as phragmites, the reedy marsh plant that covers hundreds of the barrier island's acres.The National Park Service accuses both invaders - calling them out on an agency website from among a host of invasive species on Assateague - of inflicting "significant impact" on native plants and animals.More
    Technically speaking, horses are as foreign to the sands of Assateague Island as phragmites, the reedy marsh plant that covers hundreds of the barrier island's acres.The National Park Service accuses both invaders - calling them out on an agency website from among a host of invasive species on Assateague - of inflicting "significant impact" on native plants and animals.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Youth Charged with Arson, Attempted Murder

    Youth Charged with Arson, Attempted Murder

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:43 AM EDT2014-07-29 11:43:32 GMT
    Fire officials say a 17-year-old has been charged with attempted murder and arson in a house fire in Woodbridge.More
    Fire officials say a 17-year-old has been charged with attempted murder and arson in a house fire in Woodbridge.More
  • Man Dies in Boating Accident off Ocean City Coast

    Man Dies in Boating Accident off Ocean City Coast

    Monday, July 28 2014 1:09 PM EDT2014-07-28 17:09:01 GMT
    A man died 60 miles off the coast of Ocean City on Saturday morning after a propeller on a charter fishing boat struck his head, according to the Coast Guard.More
    A man died 60 miles off the coast of Ocean City on Saturday morning after a propeller on a charter fishing boat struck his head, according to the Coast Guard.More
  • Turning Heartbreak into Action

    Turning Heartbreak into Action

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:03 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:03:48 GMT
    November 23, 2011 is a date that will forever follow Nils Mulford, and the rest of his family. On that day, he lost his daughter to a car accident in the Seaford area. He didn't know it then, but that tragedy would be a call to action, all in the name of preventing future heartbreak for other families. Just south of Seaford, where Ockels Road and Airport Road meet Route 13, sits a memorial for Alexis Brielle Mulford. When she was just 16-years old, she lost her life in a tragic car accident.More
    November 23, 2011 is a date that will forever follow Nils Mulford, and the rest of his family. On that day, he lost his daughter to a car accident in the Seaford area. He didn't know it then, but that tragedy would be a call to action, all in the name of preventing future heartbreak for other families. Just south of Seaford, where Ockels Road and Airport Road meet Route 13, sits a memorial for Alexis Brielle Mulford. When she was just 16-years old, she lost her life in a tragic car accident.More
Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service