The following are some new laws enacted by the Maryland General Assembly in 2009 that have received less notoriety than some other new statutory provisions.
1. Prescription Signage. Starting October 1, 2009, Maryland licensed physicians, dentists and podiatrists with pharmacy permits who prepare or dispense their own prescriptions must post a conspicuous, readable sign that tells a consumer what to do if a prescription has been filled incorrectly, or such information must be included with each filled prescription. Maryland pharmacies, except those owned by and exclusively serving a hospital, nursing home or clinic, also must conspicuously post this information or include it with each prescription.
2. Former Foster Children Coverage. Individuals who age out of foster care in Maryland with incomes of 116% or more of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and are age 19 or older, currently do not have access to Maryland Medical Assistance, often referred to as Medicaid, or the Maryland Children's Health Program. Subject to federal law and State budget limitations, Maryland Medical Assistance now must provide medical care and other health services for independent foster care adolescents who are not otherwise eligible for Medicaid benefits and whose annual household income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty line. Independent foster care adolescents are individuals younger than 21 years who were in State foster care on their 18th birthday. Coverage begins October 1, 2009.
3. Health Insurance Recision. Health insurance carriers that condition coverage on evidence of an individual's insurability may not rescind a contract or certificate based on the written information submitted with or omitted from an application, unless the carrier completed the medical underwriting and resolved all reasonable medical questions related to the written information submitted or omitted before issuing the health plan. Policies, contracts, certificates and health benefit plans issued, delivered or renewed in Maryland on or after October 1, 2009 are subject to these provisions.
4. Loss Ratios. Loss ratios are the ratios of incurred claims to premiums earned, or in the case of health insurance, the share of premium revenues spent on medical care. By December 1, 2009, the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) must complete a study showing options to raise or define medical loss ratio requirements in the individual, small group and large group health insurance markets. MIA is also to review medical loss ratio requirements in other states to find innovative ways to encourage adoption of electronic health records, implement wellness programs, implement chronic care management programs and adopt other policies that reduce health care costs and improve health care quality.
5. Prosthetic Parity. Prosthetic devices, that replace, in whole or in part, a leg, arm or eye, may not be subject to a higher copayment or coinsurance requirement than those required for any primary care benefits. Carriers may not impose an annual or lifetime dollar maximum on coverage for prosthetic devices, separate from any maximum that applies in the aggregate to all covered benefits. Also, carriers may not establish requirements for medical necessity or appropriateness for prosthetic devices that are more restrictive than those under the Medicare Coverage Database. Policies, contracts, certificates and health benefit plans issued, delivered or renewed in Maryland on or after October 1, 2009 are subject to these provisions.