Yesterday, during the afternoon Sine Die Session, the House of Delegates approved Senate Bill 632. The Senate had approved it on March 31. This action assures that the bill (setting up a Workgroup to design a Small Business/Nonprofit Health Insurance Subsidy program) will go to Governor Hogan’s desk for approval.
MACCE had determined, under 2022 Board Chair Bill Chambers’ leadership, that this legislation was to be our highest overall priority for the 2022 Session. After many years of failing to advance legislation on Association Health Plans, MACCE worked with leaders in the House and Senate, as well as advocates like Maryland Healthcare for All, the NAACP of Maryland, and County Executives from the Big Eight counties, to advance HB709 and SB632. Chairman Chambers (Greater Salisbury), and Vice Chair Rick Weldon (Frederick County) both attended virtual and live Committee hearings and working meetings to advance these bills, in addition to meetings and calls with numerous members of the General Assembly. The Rockville Chamber has been working on this for 3 years and sent in written testimony to support this initiative.
Now, as the bills pass and the formal workgroup is empaneled, MACCE will have a seat at the table to work with others to create the subsidy program, and to empower the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange to document how the subsidies will be approved and paid to the carriers. Small employers (10 and under) and nonprofits will be eligible to buy health insurance for their workers through the Exchange using valuable subsidies to reduce their cost. MAACE looks forward to the implementation of the subsidy program, and to a funding commitment of July 1, 2023, for the new subsidy program.
This is a major win for all the chambers who helped send letters, testified, and made calls to their legislators, and will be a major win for our members once implemented.