health insurance

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - To help steady Maryland's struggling health care exchange, Maryland is considering steps some other states have started taking to stabilize insurance markets: revive a sort of insurance for insurers.

Measures relating to health insurance are scheduled for hearings Wednesday.

One includes a proposal for what's known as reinsurance, which protects insurers against very high claims.

Don Rush (File Photo)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is calling on congressional leaders to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Hogan sent a letter to leaders of both parties in Congress on Tuesday.

Hogan says the program serves more than 146,000 low-income children. If Congress fails to reauthorize funding, Hogan says Maryland will run out of money for the program by April. That would cause Maryland's federal match to revert to 50 percent from 88 percent.

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Delaware State Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro is urging Senator Tom Carper to get an extension for those signing up for the Affordable Care Act.

Navarro told the Wilmington News Journal that he is worried there will not be enough time to enroll in the health insurance exchange.

So, he said, he is consulting with the Delaware Democrat’s office and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield about extending the deadline to January 1st.

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous is calling for a single-payer system in Maryland.

The 19 page plan resembles that one that former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders offered through Medicare.

Jealous said that a state run single-payer system is the next logical step but he stopped short of details on how it would be funded.

The candidate said the current system has saved more than $400 million dollars and that moving to the single-payer system would save even more.

He did not rule out hiking sales or income taxes.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland officials calling attention to some events to help people sign up for health care this weekend.

Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, officials with the NAACP and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange are highlighting a series of "last chance" events to help Marylanders enroll during an announcement Tuesday at the Maryland State Medical Society in Annapolis.

The free events will be held at the Central Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in downtown Baltimore and 17 other locations around the state.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic Gov. John Carney says President Donald Trump's decision to end federal cost-share subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will hurt thousands of low-income Delaware residents.

Carney said in a statement Friday that low-income Delawareans rely on those taxpayer subsidies to make their health insurance and health care affordable.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Virginia's largest health insurer will restrict where customers can get CT scans and MRIs in non-emergency situations.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the change will occur for people insured by Anthem in March.

Beneficiaries will have to seek imaging services at free-standing facilities instead of hospital-based ones.  The policy change does not include X-rays or mammograms.

Virginia Anthem spokesman Scott Golden said the move will save up to hundreds of dollars per scan and help keep premiums affordable.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. John Carney is meeting with state government employees to discuss efforts to reduce health care costs in Delaware.

Carney planned to hold a town hall meeting Thursday at Delaware State University to answer questions from employees and discuss the need to reduce taxpayer spending on health care.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A state health actuary says health plan premiums are set to rise by an average of nearly 60 percent in Virginia's 2018 individual marketplace.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch quotes David Shea as telling lawmakers on Monday that the increase is "unquestionably the highest we've ever seen." Shea said that next year, average monthly premiums will range from roughly $500 to $1,050 and the rise will come as many residents see their options for plans dwindle to one insurer.

Shea says this year's filing season was the most challenging of any previous one.

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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - About 70,000 people in Virginia could lose the option of buying individual health insurance plans next year.

The Roanoke Times reported Tuesday three insurers have announced they plan to pull out of Virginia's individual market next year. Last week, Optima Health said it would no longer offer individual plans where Sentara Health does not have hospitals and providers.

That will leave some parts of Virginia without the option of buying individual insurance. The changes affect all individual plans, not just those sold through the Affordable Care Act.