About Low Income Health Insurance in Maryland

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    Function

    • The State of Maryland began a health care program for low income children and pregnant women in 1998. The program is called The Maryland Children's Health Program (MCHP). The program takes advantage of federal and state funding to pay for health care for children 19 and under and provide medical care for pregnant women regardless of their age. Even if a child has some form of private health coverage, he still may be eligible for benefits under MCHP.

    High Risk Coverage

    • In 2002 the state legislature authorized the Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP) for residents rated high risk because they are unable to purchase health insurance due to a pre-existing condition or overall serious health conditions. Each individual is responsible for the full cost of this coverage. An option for low or moderate income individuals under this plan, called MHIP+, offers the same coverage as the standard plan, except that low income people have lower payments and fees.

    Adults

    • In July 2006 a new health program began in Maryland called Primary Adult Care (PAC).This program provides primary health care services to people who are age 19 and older who have limited income. The program is designed to pay for wellness care so that health problems can be taken care of before a problem requires hospitalization. PAC does not provide coverage for emergency room charges, visits to a specialist or a stay in a hospital.

    Other Plans

    • The Kaiser Bridge program is a subsidized health plan for low income uninsured people who have no access to health insurance. Eligibility for this program is determined by the city or country you live in. For example, Baltimore and Prince George's County participate in the program. The Medical Care for Children Partnership (MCCP), operated cooperatively with Catholic Charities, was another program established to insure that all children have access to quality medical care.

    National Reform

    • National healthcare reform passed in 2010 will also apply to Maryland residents. Beginning in September 2010, health insurance lifetime caps or limits on coverage will be eliminated removing concerns about loss of coverage. Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping clients who become seriously ill, and there will also be a prohibition against excluding children based on preexisting medical conditions. Funding for community health centers where low income clients receive health care will be increased beginning in October 2010. Health insurance reform will be fully implemented in 2014.

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