Legislation that would have forbidden life insurance providers from increasing rates or limiting coverage based solely on an individual’s future lawful travel plans has been withdrawn.
“After discussing several options with members of the Health and Government Operations Committee, I have reluctantly decided that we cannot pass an acceptable bill at this session,” said Del. Samuel “Sandy” Rosenberg (D-District 41), who sponsored the bill.
A resolution that would satisfy the interests of both those pushing for the legislation and life insurance providers seemed possible after the Feb. 26 committee hearing in which representatives from the insurance industry testified that they would be willing to support the bill, provided the inclusion of some amendments.
Upon reviewing the amendments, however, Rosenberg said he could not reconcile both parties’ demands.
The bill “is based upon model language provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners,” said Rosenberg. “I have informed the chairman of [the committee] that I will research how this language has been implemented in other states and whether those jurisdictions have considered the changes proposed to [the bill] by the life insurance industry.”
Current Maryland law forbids life insurance providers from using past travel as grounds for raising an insured’s rates or limiting their coverage. Rosenberg said he became aware that future travel was still a legal reason to disrupt coverage when a local insurance agent brought to his attention the case of a Jewish Marylander who was told by his insurance provider that he would not be covered for portions of a trip he had planned to visit his son in Israel.
Rosenberg said that though the bill is no longer on the table for 2015, he plans to continue conversations with committee leaders and insurance industry representatives in the hope of passing the legislation in the 2016 session.