ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed measures on Thursday to help stabilize health insurance rates in the Maryland Health Care Exchange’s distressed individual market.
Hogan signed measures to create what’s known as a reinsurance program, which protects insurers against very high claims. The exchange’s board will need to apply for a federal waiver to create the program.
Hogan, a Republican, supports a separate bill that is part of an agreement with the Democrat-controlled General Assembly. It taps about $380 million that health insurance companies no longer have to pay in federal taxes due to changes in the federal tax code. The money will be used to keep rates down over the next year. That legislation had not yet reached the governor’s desk, but lawmakers passed the bill Thursday afternoon. That measure could be signed as soon as next week.
Hogan thanked Democrats for working in a bipartisan manner to fix a problem that he said the federal government has failed to address.
“I want to sincerely thank the speaker and the president of the Senate and legislators from both sides of the aisle for working together with us in a commonsense bipartisan manner to address this crisis head-on and to prevent these massive rate increases,” Hogan said at a bill signing ceremony.
State officials have expressed concern the health exchange’s individual market could collapse amid shrinking enrollment and sharply rising costs, if nothing is done.
The measures were two of seven bills Hogan signed as the state’s 90-day legislative session heads toward its scheduled end at midnight Monday.
The governor signed budget legislation that includes about $40 million in funding for school safety improvements.
Hogan also signed a bill that reaffirms the state’s commitment to a regional partnership in fighting climate change known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The law prevents future administrations from withdrawing from the partnership without legislative approval.
This story has been corrected to show that the two bills relate to creating a reinsurance program.
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