In Maryland, base for a health insurance exchange may already exist

One state's health infrastructure is not the same as another's, as Massachusetts and Maryland are learning. While Massachusetts passed legislation for universal healthcare coverage, Maryland is learning it may already have a healthcare infrastructure to handle the uninsured.

Today, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors of Maryland and the Maryland Association of Health Underwriters Major issued a report saying that the state may not need a "health exchange" program. The study, in which an architect of the Massachusetts program studied Maryland's healthcare landscape, found that Maryland's system already includes intermediaries that can supply information to individuals and small businesses, and can connect them to coverage.

The Maryland structure also includes help for administrative services such as billing and handling of government subsidies. All of these functions are included in health exchanges.

"Maryland is well-positioned to leverage the existing private-sector infrastructure rather than expend scarce public resources to establish a new public entity to help organize and structure the market," the report said. The Maryland legislature isn't likely to decide whether to create an exchange during the current session, said Del. Peter A. Hammen, a Baltimore Democrat who is chairman of the Health and Government Operations Committee.

To learn more:
- read this Baltimore Sun article