Large Employers Oppose Maryland’s HB 581 Health Spending Mandate

Today, ERIC pressed Maryland’s House Appropriations Committee to withdraw HB 581 from consideration.
HB 581 is an attempt to enforce certain coverage and reimbursement requirements on ERISA-governed employee benefit plans with beneficiaries in Maryland, which we believe may be preempted by ERISA. Our allies in Maryland have echoed our opposition that the legislation would create several new employer mandates and costs along with many other problematic and challenging provisions for Maryland employers.
Specifically, ERIC’s concerns are with language in section 3-1609, which does not contain a carve-out for employers who offer health benefits through ERISA plans. The legislation explicitly states that “essential employers” who are already providing “health insurance coverage” must provide additional benefits such as covering co-pay amounts or out-of-pocket expenses for health care costs “related to [an] emergency.”

ERIC’s view is that for this legislation to survive a challenge under ERISA preemption, it must specify that employers offering ERISA plans are not subject to the new requirements.

To read ERIC’s President and CEO, Annette Guarisco Fildes testimony letter, please click here.