Joined by healthcare advocacy organizations as part of the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative, Senate Finance Committee Vice Chairman Brian Feldman (District 15 – Montgomery) shared details Wednesday of legislation he’s sponsored to establish a health insurance down payment plan for Maryland citizens.
Entitled the Protect Maryland Health Care Act of 2019, Senate Bill 802 would encourage individuals to use their own monies to purchase health insurance and make it easier for them to do so by allowing purchase options as a part of the state income tax process.
In summarizing the legislation, a release from the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative stated: “Instead of imposing tax penalties on the uninsured, the Maryland proposal helps the uninsured enroll into coverage whenever possible. As uninsured residents file state tax returns, they can avoid an insurance responsibility payment by agreeing to get health insurance and keep it through the end of the year. They can apply for financial assistance and immediately begin the enrollment process by simply checking a box on their tax return.”
“We think we have come up with a creative proposal,” said Feldman. He added: “We’re incentivizing people to use their own money to purchase health insurance.”
Along with lead sponsor Vice Chairman Feldman, Senate Bill 802 is cosponsored by Senators Beidle (District 32 – Anne Arundel), Carter (District 41 – Baltimore City), Elfreth (District 30 – Anne Arundel), Guzzone (District 13 – Howard), Hayes (District 40 – Baltimore City), Kelley (District 10 – Baltimore County), Lam (District 12 – Howard and Baltimore Counties), Lee (District 16 – Montgomery), Rosapepe (District 21 – Prince George’s and Anne Arundel), and Zucker (District 14 – Montgomery).
The legislation has been jointly assigned to the both the Senate Finance and the Senate Budget & Taxation Committees. A hearing in the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled for March 6th.