Under the recently upheld Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Maryland and all other states are required to determine what essential health insurance benefits will be offered by all plans through the statewide health insurance exchange.
The Maryland Health Care Reform Council was recently formed to select model insurance policies currently offered in the state that will set a benchmark for future policies to be sold through the exchange. The plans selected offer essential benefits that all coverage must offer by 2014, including acupuncture for pain management and chiropractic care for certain conditions. Each state is able to determine its own definition of essential benefits, leaving much of the decision making regarding the exchanges in the hands of local lawmakers and industry experts, the Baltimore Sun reported.
In addition, health insurance providers are also preparing their operations for the implementation of the health insurance exchanges nationwide. While details on what essential benefits will be provided in each exchange, states must also decide if they will establish the web-based portal themselves or with assistance from the federal government. Once details are finalized, health insurance providers will be given guidelines on how to build policies to meet certain requirements before the 2014 launch, Bloomberg reported.