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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

MD Assembly considers reforms to health-insurance coverage

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Thursday, February 22, 2024   

Committees in both chambers of the General Assembly are hearing testimony on a measure to change how health insurance companies in Maryland make treatment coverage decisions.

The process of what is known as 'utilization review' can be time-consuming and opaque, and criteria may be set by the insurance company instead of clinical standards.

The Senate Finance Committee heard testimony Wednesday on Senate Bill 791, which would require insurers to use expert nonprofit clinical guidelines to make coverage decisions.

David Lloyd, chief policy officer for the nonprofit mental health advocacy organization Inseparable, said the approach will remove barriers to care.

"It puts in place important patient protections to help people get the care they need for their mental health and substance use conditions," Lloyd pointed out.

Testimony on the companion bill will be heard in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on Thursday.

The measure would ensure patients can remain on a drug if it has been authorized in the past, and can keep existing drug coverage for 90 days if they change insurance companies. The bills would also require insurers to establish a real-time benefits check, where prescribers can view an electronic health record to see insurance coverage, drug costs and more.

Lloyd contended it should speed up the authorization process, which can be slow and harmful to people in crisis.

"Particularly for people who are struggling with mental health or substance use challenges, these types of barriers can be really harmful," Lloyd pointed out. "And can make it so that they don't ultimately get the treatments that are critical for their well-being."

If passed, the electronic health record system would be required to begin by July 2026.

Disclosure: Inseparable contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice, Health Issues, Mental Health, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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