Maryland Health Insurance Plan makes cost, benefit changes

The federal program that offers health insurance to Marylanders with pre-existing conditions has made changes recently that will make some costs go up and others go down.

The program was created under the federal health reform law and was intended as a bridge for those who could not buy commercial insurance until 2014 when new exchanges are slated to launch.

The program could be terminated if the health care law is overturned by the Supreme Court. But for now, officials say the program operates at market rates and they must adjust premiums and benefits each year as other insurers do with their plans.

Starting this July, the high federal deductible plan will require for the first time "coinsurance" payments when participants use hospital and behavior health services. Those in the PPO plan already make these payments, which are 20 percent of the bill when in-network hospitals are used.

At the same time, however, the premiums for the high deductible plan will go down an average of 4 percent. Those in the PPO will pay an average 1.5 percent increase. In both plans, generic drugs and preventive health services will be free.

The state officials, who also run a similar state-back program called the Maryland Health Insurance Plan, raised premiums an average of 4 percent, depending on the age of the participant.

Those with questions about the changes can 443-738-0667 or 888-444-9016.

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