CEO of Maryland's largest health insurer maps game plan: 3 notes

The CEO of Maryland's largest health insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, said the company is eyeing further expansions into government programs and supports a proposal to require all state residents to purchase health insurance, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Effective July 1, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield promoted its COO, Brian D. Pieninck, to president and CEO. Mr. Pieninck has served as CareFirst's COO since April 2017.

Here are three things to know about Mr. Pieninck's strategy:

1. Mr. Pieninck told The Baltimore Sun he would like to see Maryland move forward with its plans to replace the ACA's federal health insurance mandate, which will no longer be enforced in 2019. Unlike the federal mandate, Maryland's proposal would allow uninsured residents to put the penalty toward buying insurance. The penalty, which would cost $700 or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater, would be enforced on state tax returns, according to the report. The proposal has mixed support so far.

2. Mr. Pieninck also seeks permanent funding for Maryland's reinsurance program. In August, CMS approved a proposal from Maryland lawmakers to institute a reinsurance program to help shore up ACA markets. The program would provide payments for insurers who cover extremely sick patients. It is valued at $462 million and will run from Jan. 1 through 2020. Maryland officials estimate the reinsurance program will prevent premium increases of up to 30 percent in the state's individual markets.

3. As for government programs, Mr. Pieninck said CareFirst is mulling an entrance into the Medicare Advantage market by 2021, and may consider entering the state's Medicaid managed care market, according to The Baltimore Sun.

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