Health officials in Maryland and Texas have announced that they have reached a mutual agreement to end their dispute over a controversial state health care policy that allows insurers to exclude patients with preexisting conditions.
Under the agreement, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland and Anthem Blue Shield Texas announced Monday that they will end the “premium exclusion” policy, which allows insurers, which offer health insurance plans through most companies, to exclude people with preexsisting conditions from their plans, and which was implemented last year under President Donald Trump.
The policy is an important component of the Affordable Care Act, which was enacted in 2010 to help states expand Medicaid coverage for the poor.
Under the policy, insurers are required to cover the full cost of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
Anthem, which has about 4 million members in Maryland, Texas and Virginia, argues that it is in the best interest of the public health system to do away with the exclusion.
“Our mutual agreement provides that Anthem will no longer offer premium exclusion coverage in Maryland,” said Anthem spokeswoman Katie O’Brien in a statement.
Anthem said it has a long history of supporting policies that are in the public interest and that it will continue to offer health coverage for members of its Blue Cross and Blue Shield Blue Network in Maryland.
The agreement is expected to ease the burden on Maryland’s insurance carriers, who have been forced to make financial sacrifices in recent years as they struggled to maintain the health care coverage that was promised to them by the ACA.
Anthem and Blue Cross have faced a series of lawsuits over their exclusion policies, which have cost insurers billions of dollars and left them struggling to maintain their business and expand their networks.
A number of insurers have said they will exit Maryland under the agreement.
Anthem has said that it hopes to remain in the state and will continue its expansion efforts.