Maryland Legislation Seeks Health Insurer Regulation
Maryland lawmakers are considering a number of bills that seek to provide greater accountability and regulation in the health insurance industry, the Washington Post reports. Maryland Insurance Commissioner Ralph Tyler, who is advocating for many of the proposed changes, said that "we're trying to undo outdated rules that are not fair to consumers," adding, "Most citizens don't know what their rights are."
Among the proposals being considered are measures that would:
* Prohibit insurers from rescinding a policy if they failed to document all pre-existing conditions and such a condition is later found;
* Reduce the amount of time an insurer can look back at a patient's medical history for pre-existing conditions from seven years to five years;
* Require insurers that sell low-cost, bare-boned individual health policies to disclose coverage limits and require them to offer more substantive policies;
* Prohibit insurers from charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage, which insurers justify on the grounds that women utilize more health services than men; and
* Expand the percentage of premium dollars spent on medical care to 85 cents on the dollar from 60 cents for individual policies and 75 cents for policies purchased by small employers (Rein, Washington Post, 3/8).