ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 5, 2012) - Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown released the following statement applauding the Maryland General Assembly for passing the O'Malley-Brown Administration's Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012 (HB 443) and sending the legislation to Governor O'Malley for his signature:
"With today's final approval by the General Assembly, we will be able to bring Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange to life and provide a one-stop, transparent marketplace where individuals and small businesses can compare rates, benefits and quality among private insurance plans to find one that best suits their needs. Governor O'Malley and I believe strongly in the Affordable Care Act, and signing our Health Benefit Exchange bill into law will help us reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of care for all Marylanders."
Following 2011 legislation, led by Lt. Governor Brown, creating the framework for the exchange ( http://www.governor.maryland.gov/ltgovernor/pressreleases/110412.asp ), the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board worked with a broad range of experts and stakeholders to develop a series of policy recommendations. These included four advisory committees with stakeholders from the health insurance industry; health care providers and associations; community members, advocates, and community-based organizations; academia; business owners; unions; local government officials; and consultants.
Based on the recommendations established through this open and collaborative process, the Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012 puts in place many of the policies that will guide the Exchange's operations, including outlining the types of health and dental plans that can be offered in the Exchange; allowing the Exchange to use active purchasing strategies after the first two years to further reduce costs and enhance the quality of plans offered; operating individual and small business markets separately; establishing "Navigator Programs" to provide outreach and assistance to consumers; and addressing other key issues such as risk adjustment, market rules, and the prevention of fraud, waste and abuse.
As Co-Chair of the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council, Lt. Governor Brown leads the O'Malley-Brown Administration's health care reform efforts. Under the leadership of Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has implemented reforms that have expanded health coverage to over 310,000 Marylanders and put the State in position to maximize the Affordable Care Act. Last month, the Lt. Governor launched HealthReform.Maryland.gov ( http://www.healthreform.maryland.gov/ ), a new website designed to provide information about what health care reform means to Maryland residents and small businesses.