Effective immediately and for the next sixty days, health insurers in Maryland are not allowed to cancel or refuse to renew individual health benefit plan policies because the policyholder did not pay their premium.
Who does this apply to?
It applies to individual and family health benefit plan policies issued in Maryland. That includes individual and family policies bought through the Maryland Health Connection and to some individual and family policies bought directly from a health insurance company.
“Health benefit plan” is a term defined in law. The prohibition against cancellation does not apply to policies or forms of coverage that do not meet that definition, such as short-term medical policies, health sharing ministry plans, or other type of policies that may provide some medical coverage (such as hospital indemnity insurance) but does not meet the statutory definition of a “health benefit plan.”
The prohibition against cancellation does not apply to group insurance policies, such as policies issued to your employer or through an association.
You can call the insurance company that issued your policy to find out if your policy is an individual or family health benefit plan policy that is protected from cancellation.
You can also call the Maryland Insurance Administration’s Life and Health Unit with any questions at 410-468-2170.
Can my individual or family health benefit plan policy still be cancelled for other reasons?
Yes. The prohibition only applies to terminations for non-payment of premium. Coverage can still be terminated for other reasons. For example, if you move out of the service area or your dependent child reaches age 26. Individuals who lose coverage because of such an event may be eligible to enroll in a new policy. If you are in Maryland and experience a loss of coverage for such a reason, you may contact the Maryland Health Connection at 1-855-642-8572 to see if you qualify for enrollment and for payment assistance.
What gives the Insurance Commissioner the authority to do this?
Maryland Insurance Commissioner Kathleen A. Birrane is granted emergency powers under Maryland law to protect insurance consumers in the event of a State of Emergency. Governor Larry Hogan issued a State of Emergency proclamation on March 5, 2020, as a response to COVID-19. The Governor renewed the proclamation on May 6, June 3 and July 1.
The regulation, outlined in Bulletin 20-30, will be in effect for 60 days, until September 30, 2020. The commissioner will determine whether to renew the regulation at the end of the 60-day period.
Consumer questions about this action may be directed to the Maryland Insurance Administration’s Life & Health Unit at 410-468-2170.
For media inquiries, contact Director of Communications Craig Ey at 410-468-2488.
200 St. Paul Place, Suite 2700, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-468-2000 | 1-800-492-6116 (toll free) | 1-800-735-2258 (TTY)