Cumberland Times-News

Letters

May 7, 2014

They spend and have nothing to show for it

Depending on which article you read and its source, the state of Maryland spent $ 100 million plus of taxpayer funds on a Health Insurance Exchange that was broken from the day it opened to the writing of this letter.  

All of this for no reason at all. In 2010 a study was commissioned “A Health Insurance Exchange for Maryland?” comparing Massachusetts and Maryland. The study was written by Jonathan M. Gruber, PhD. and Robert L. Carey.

The study was presented to the current Maryland administrators and legislators but it was ignored.

The study states “ Individuals looking to obtain health coverage in Maryland’s non-group market have essentially three ways to purchase insurance — through a broker, using an on-line brokerage service such as vimo.com, ehealthinsurance.com, or gethealthinsurance.com, or directly from a health carrier.

An individual’s monthly premium is not affected by the way he or she purchases insurance.  For individuals that use a broker to assist in procuring non-group health coverage, Maryland intermediaries play a key role by providing brokers with a central point of access for most of the health plans offered by most of the insurers operating in the state’s non- group and small group markets.

The intermediaries offer a centralized source of information, which allows for a more streamlined and standardized way for brokers to compare health plans, generate premium quote across multiple carriers, process enrollment, and provide ongoing account management during the year.

In conclusion Maryland already had a functioning exchange! Why spend $ 100 million plus. Why not spend that on making health care more affordable?

It is now evident that the exchanges have not enrolled the desired percentage of the so called young and healthy so the result of that will be higher claims resulting in higher renewal premiums from an act that is supposed to make healthcare affordable…

Now the state is spending more money on a new exchange to replace the one that NEVER functioned properly even though our legislators touted Maryland as the first to create an exchange and hopefully a model for the rest of the country….

Next up is the SHOP exchange for small business, more money for something that we do not need. Unlike Massachusetts and the rest of the country Maryland already has three intermediaries that act exactly like an exchange plus offer far more services for small employers.

The study states this and goes on to state “The employers’ monthly premium is not affected by the way it purchases health insurance or by the intermediary that services the account”

In conclusion, legislators all along ignored the broker community who serves individuals and all businesses with their employee benefits needs and many other services.

They continue to meet behind closed doors as they spend more money and have nothing to show their citizens, least of all less affordable health care. Please read the article in the Washington Post Metro section published Sunday, May 4, “New MD. Exchange faces tight timetable”

Alan Schulman, media chair

Md. Association of Health Underwriters

Rockville

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