ANNAPOLIS -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland yesterday became the first company to take advantage of a new law aimed at alleviating the plight of the state's roughly 570,000 residents who have no health insurance.
Blue Cross Chairman Carl Sardegna told members of the House Economic Matters Committee that his company has filed a request with the state Insurance Division for permis
sion to sell its version of a lower-cost, stripped-down health insurance policy that doesn't include all of the more than two dozen benefits state law requires most policies to offer.
The plan, called CorePlan One, will cost 25 percent to 50 percent less than Blue Cross' standard plans for individuals and families, according to Linda Benedict, vice president for the company's individual market division.
For an average of about $89, CorePlan One would cover 10 inpatient hospital days a year, 10 outpatient visits to a licensed health-careprovider, prenatal care, emergency services and some other benefits as long as they don't exceed $50,000 in a year.
The law was intended to provide an inexpensive health benefits plan to small employers who can't afford to provide health coverage for their workers. It made Maryland one of about 10 states to authorize a policy that excludes some so-called "mandated benefits."
But Blue Cross has chosen to market CorePlan One only to individuals. Mr. Sardegna pointed out that such an approach "does not preclude employers from becoming involved in
contributing to the cost or encouraging their employees to purchase the policy."
He said that the company would consider developing a group plan for employers after it sees how well the CorePlan One does.
CorePlan One is slightly less expensive than what Blue Cross promised during the legislative session. But the deductible of $250 is higher than the figure the company quoted in April before the law was passed.
The CorePlan One will be sold only to people who have not had any health insurance plan for at least 12 months.