May 02, 2012
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Bill would allow stand-alone vision plans in Maryland exchange

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A bill passed in Maryland earlier this month would allow stand-alone vision plans to compete within Maryland’s state-based health insurance exchange, according to InsideHealthPolicy.com. The bill is expected to be signed by the governor this month.

According to the online newsletter, which reports on federal health and safety regulations, Maryland is the only state so far to take such an action.

In an article previously published by Primary Care Optometry News [http://www.healio.com/optometry/regulatory-legislative/news/print/primary-care-optometry-news/%7B56EAE51A-4F3B-4128-9B1E-6113E33A1A38%7D/Issue-of-stand-alone-vision-plans-in-state-exchanges-continues-to-be-debated], we reported that “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 established Affordable Insurance Exchanges to ‘provide competitive marketplaces for individuals and small employers to directly compare available private health insurance options on the basis of price, quality and other factors.’” Stand-alone vision plans may participate in the exchanges only by partnering with qualified health plans, according to the act.

However, each state was given the flexibility to specify its own essential health benefits offered by the exchanges.

In mid-March, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a final rule to implement the exchanges and said it is still evaluating the issue of stand-alone vision plans being included in the exchanges.