Maryland’s new bill to expand healthcare for small business employees – State of Reform

While around it 620,214 small businesses Maryland employs more than 1.2 million people in the state. Baltimore Sun Only about 37% of small businesses in Maryland report that they offer health insurance to their employees, compared to 95% of large businesses that offer health insurance to their employees.

Small businesses in Maryland can now obtain federal tax credits to reduce costs. Maryland Health Connect, which allows small businesses and their employees to compare and buy private plans.according to HealthCare.govsmall businesses can qualify for a tax credit worth up to 50% of the cost of employee insurance premiums.

January 11thth2023, Sen. Katie Hester (D – Howard) and Congressman Robin Lewis (D – Baltimore) introduced Senate Bill 59 When House Bill 107, respectfully. SB0059 and HB0107 create special enrollment periods for individuals who become employed by small employers who do not offer health insurance plans to their employees. The registration window is open for 60 days from the employee’s first day of employment. In addition, these bills would have him allocating funds through 2029 for marketing and outreach during this special enrollment period.

Currentstarting a new job is not considered a qualifying life event and therefore does not qualify an individual for a special period of coverage.The new law removes this barrier for people seeking health insurance. .

Lewis and Hester continue to advocate health insurance coverage for small businesses through the legislative process.last year they sponsored successful effort Establish small business and non-profit health insurance subsidy programs that provide subsidies to employees to purchase health insurance.

The passage of SB 632 also created a workgroup tasked with monitoring the impact of the program and investigating ways to support the medical needs of small business employees. The workgroup, which he met from July to September, concluded that additional outreach and training for small businesses would be an important improvement for small businesses looking to expand the benefits of health care. The marketing element is a key aspect of his two bills for 2023.

“This is currently the most efficient and effective use of state funds to expand health coverage in Maryland, and we look forward to implementing each. [of the workgroup’s recommendations in the next legislative session.” Hester said of the 2023 bills during a press conference last November.

During the same press conference, Lewis emphasized the important role the state’s health insurance marketplace plays in the legislation by spreading advocacy through things like workshops, training, and events.

“Through marketing and outreach by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and partnering with small employer groups and the producer community, the state would help ensure that small employers and their employees are educated about their coverage options and will enroll,” Lewis said.

The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative is strongly supportive of SB 59 and HB 107 and has identified the effort as one of its main legislative priorities for 2023. SB 59 is scheduled for a hearing on February 1st at 1:00 p.m.

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