About 73,000 Marylanders will lose their health coverage on or after Jan. 1 due to regulations mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act.
The Maryland Insurance Administration was notified by nine insurance carriers that they will discontinue some of their health plans starting in the new year, said Joseph A. Sviatko, a spokesman for the agency.
The ACA, passed in 2010, does not require people with health plans purchased before March 23, 2010, to buy new coverage, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Those plans are grandfathered into the new law.
But plans that were changed after March 2010 – including changes to deductibles, co-pay or benefits – must meet new federal requirements.
The ACA mandates all health insurance premiums must cover 10 essential health benefits, including hospitalization, prescription drugs, maternity and newborn care.
Approximately 73,000 nongrandfathered plans in Maryland will be discontinued, Sviatko said.
“Those plans are being replaced with stronger coverage that provides more consumer protection, such as guaranteed coverage, mental health parity, and prescription drug coverage,” Sviatko said in an email.
Health care plans that have remained unchanged since March 23, 2010, can be renewed, he said.
CareFirst BlueCross Blue-Shield, which handles about 70 percent of Maryland’s individual insurance market, said close to 76,000 of its customers could lose their current health plans in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., by January.
A CareFirst spokesman said about 60,000 of those cancellations would take place in Maryland.
CareFirst has close to 120,000 individual members in the state.
Sviatko did not know how many health care plans would be discontinued in Anne Arundel County. Most people should receive 90 days notice before their health coverage is discontinued, he said.