Press Release

August 13, 2013
Cardin Calls On Healthcare Providers To Help Facilitate Enrollment In Maryland Health Exchanges
Maryland has been on the leading edge of implementing the benefits and consumer-protections of the Affordable Care Act

Cheverly, MD – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) continued his outreach to Maryland’s healthcare providers in advance of the initial enrollment for Maryland’s new health exchanges with a visit to Prince George’s County Hospital Center and Dimensions Healthcare. Healthcare exchanges that begin in January 2014 are a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act. Participants in the roundtable will be on the front lines of navigating the Maryland exchange in the individual market and will be dealing mainly with those currently uninsured or underinsured.

“The Affordable Care Act is already providing stable and secure coverage for Maryland families and slowing the growth of health care costs to provide Americans with better value, better options, and better health. This new law is here to stay and we should be working together to build on the progress we’ve made through the law,” said Senator Cardin. “Over the next six months, millions of consumers from all 50 states will be able to shop for insurance options through the marketplace. Those Americans will benefit from strong competition among insurance providers. But enrolling these Americans in health coverage won’t happen overnight. Unfortunately, not all states are as proactive as Maryland. Some states have been fighting the exchanges, but the federal government will step in and set them up.

“I am proud that Maryland’s hospitals, healthcare providers and health systems have been on the leading edge of implementing the benefits and consumer-protections of the Affordable Care Act. As we move closer to the initial enrollment period, we are learning that rates in Maryland are among the lowest in the nation and that Marylanders will have a wider choice of plans available to them. We want to ensure that everyone is ready. Our community health centers especially, will grow in their role providing quality healthcare to Marylanders,” Senator Cardin added.

The Maryland Health Connection is expected to enroll 180,000 of our state’s approximately 800,000 uninsured residents through private insurance and 100,000 more through Medicaid within the first year of enrollment, which begins October 1st. An estimated three out of four Marylanders purchasing coverage through the Maryland Health Connection will be eligible for tax credits to reduce the cost of coverage, bringing $7.5 billion in premium and cost sharing tax credits into Maryland during the first five years of the health insurance Exchange.

All health insurance coverage through the Maryland Health Connection and health exchanges across the country include comprehensive care, including outpatient and inpatient care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, laboratory testing and radiology, and prescription drug coverage; emphasis on preventive services, available free of charge; a cap on out-of-pocket expenses; and no lifetime or yearly dollar limits on coverage. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, no one can be rejected due to pre-existing conditions.

The Affordable Care Act is working to lower costs, increase efficiency, and deliver better patient outcomes around the nation. We are already seeing benefits and savings from this legislation: Health care spending grew by 3.9% in 2011, continuing for the third consecutive year the slowest growth rate in 50 years; health-care costs grew slower than the rest of the economy in 2011 for the first time in more than a decade; the proportion of requests for double-digit premium increases plummeted from 75% in 2010 to 14% so far in 2013; Medicaid spending per beneficiary decreased by 1.9% from 2011 to 2012; Medicare spending per beneficiary grew by only 0.4% in fiscal year 2012. The Affordable Care Act is driving down cost growth while strengthening and expanding coverage.