Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Photo: Maryland)

Maryland could soon be using state income tax returns to connect uninsured residents with the state’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) public exchange program, Maryland Health Connection.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, recently signed House Bill 814 — legislation that requires the state to set up a Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program. One provision calls for the state to let Maryland residents sign up for health coverage by checking a box on their state income tax returns.

The federal government helps people pay for exchange plan coverage through the ACA advance premium tax credit subsidy program.

If Maryland residents indicate that they are uninsured, and interested in getting health coverage, the state comptroller will forward information that could help those people apply for the ACA premium tax credit subsidy to Maryland Health Connections.

Analysts at the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors of Maryland reported in a 2019 legislative summary that the new law will require the exchange to establish an advisory workgroup. ”Included in the workgroup will be insurance brokers and agents,” according to the NAIFA Maryland analysis.

Producer groups have a constructive working relationship with Maryland Health Connection’s managers, according to the NAIFA Maryland analysis.

State Rep. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, D-College Park, introduced the bill in February. The bill was approved by members of the state House by a 46-0 vote and by members of the state Senate by a 123-15 vote before it reached Hogan’s desk.

The new law took effect in June. The new law requires the comptroller to implement the health insurance interest information forwarding provision starting with state fiscal year 2020, for state income tax returns filed for the 2019 tax year.

Small-Group Tax Credit

Hogan signed the enrollment bill into law along with a number of other health care initiatives.

One, House Bill 1098, will make a health insurance tax credit subsidy for small businesses available through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

Employers with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees that pay an average less than $51,600 in annual wages can receive tax credits if they pay at least half of the employees’ health insurance premiums.

Resources

The House Bill 814 history is available here.

A description of House Bill 814 is available here.

An analysis by NAIFA Maryland is available here.

— Read Key Health Bill Draft Includes Agent Comp Disclosure Sectionon ThinkAdvisor.

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