Greg Scandlen, director of Galen’s new Center for Consumer Driven Health Care, testified before the Maryland Senate Finance Committee on Health Reimbursement Arrangements on February 12.
He was speaking about a bill (SB 609) introduced by Senate minority whip Andrew Harris (R) that would require Maryland’s Health Care Access Commission to allow small employers to set up HRAs. In Maryland the benefit design of all small employer health insurance plans must be approved by the Commission before they can be made available to employers.
Mr. Scandlen explained the Internal Revenue Notice and Ruling on HRAs, and illustrated how they are being implemented in the marketplace. He explained that, “we are currently in a period of experimentation to see what the best plan design is.”
He pointed out that all employers, but especially small employers, are hard-pressed to maintain coverage these days. “With health plan premiums rising on average 15 to 17 percent this year — and in the small group market often by 30 to 40 percent – employers everywhere are raising deductibles, co-payments, coinsurance, and employee premiums. HRAs enable employers to soften the blow of these increases and at the same time increase the flexibility and worker satisfaction with their health plans.”
SB 609 is only one of several bills in the Maryland legislature aimed at enabling the use of HRAs. Mr. Scandlen offered to work with the Finance Committee to better understand the impact of all these proposals.
Click here to read Mr. Scandlen’s testimony.