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Article Archive >> Business

Small Business Owners To Discuss Maryland's New Health Insurance Partnership

Small Business Owners To Discuss Maryland's New Health Insurance Partnership

The state of Maryland through the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) is launching a new health insurance partnership that will provide eligible small business owners with a subsidy of up to 50% of the premium health insurance coverage for their employees.
There will be an informational meeting on Tuesday, August 26 at Celebrate Health & Wellness, 12803 Oak Hill Ave., Suite A in Hagerstown from 8:30-10:30am to discuss how small businesses may sign up for this new benefit beginning September 1, 2008.
Representatives of the Maryland Health Care Commission, the Maryland Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses and small business owners will be present.
Why the Meeting?
According to a Report on the Patterns of Insurance Coverage in Maryland (MHCC, January 2007), there are about 780,000 uninsured Maryland residents (14.5% of total population). Small businesses have a disproportionate share of the uninsured workers with small firms (under 25 employees) having 42% of the uninsured employees (but only 25% of all workers).
During the Maryland General Assembly's Special Session of 2007, Governor Martin O'Malley was joined by leaders of the Maryland General Assembly to support the enactment of the Working Families & Small Business Health Coverage Act. The Act, effective July 1, calls for the creation of a subsidy that would encourage more small employers to offer health insurance to their employees and expands Medicaid to cover parents with incomes up to $20,500 for a family of three, 116 percent of the federal poverty level.
Under the Health Insurance Partnership, a small business that has 2 to 9 full-time employees, has not offered health insurance to its employees during the previous 12 months, and has an average wage below $50,000 is eligible to receive a subsidy of up to 50 percent of the premium. The total subsidy is divided between the employer and the employee based on the contribution each makes toward the cost of coverage.
The Partnership is expected to enroll more than 1,500 businesses, in its first year. Beginning September 1, 2008, insurance agents and brokers will begin enrolling small businesses in health plans offered by CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coventry Health Care, United HealthCare and Aetna. All health plans eligible for a subsidy will encourage wellness by offering a health risk assessment and by providing employees with incentives for preventive care, wellness activities, or disease management. Coverage will begin October 1.
For questions about meeting locations, dates and times, business owners are encouraged to contact: Angie Berkey, NFIB, 202-314-2003 or Angie.Berkey@NFIB.org -or- Nicole Stallings, MHCC, 410-764-5593 or nstallings@mhcc.state.md.us.

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