Governor Hogan announces health insurance premium rate decreases

Health-AlertGovernor Larry Hogan on Friday announced approval of an average 13.2 percent premium rate decrease for individual health insurance plans with an effective date of January 1, 2019.

These rates reflect the impact of Maryland’s 1332 State Innovation Waiver, which creates a State Reinsurance Program to help stabilize Maryland’s individual health insurance market and prevent previously-predicted massive rate hikes.

“Rather than huge increases in health insurance rates, we are instead delivering significantly and dramatically lower rates for Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “For the first time since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, all individual insurance rates in Maryland will go down instead of up.”

Maryland’s 1332 State Innovation Waiver was the result of a bipartisan legislative effort. The waiver was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on August 22, 2018.

Prior to approval of the waiver and creation of Maryland’s Reinsurance Program, insurers had requested an average rate increase of 30.2 percent, with rate increase requests ranging from 91.4 percent to 18.5 percent across carriers. With the State Reinsurance Program in place, rate requests were amended by carriers to reflect its impact, and after rigorous review and scrutiny by the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA), individual rates were ultimately approved at an average decrease of 13.2 percent, with decreases ranging from 17 percent to 7.4 percent across carriers.

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Individual Market Summary 2019

The State Reinsurance Program, coupled with the MIA’s actuarial scrutiny and review of rate filings, resulted in average individual policy renewal rates that are 43.4 percent lower than what was originally filed, and 13.2 percent lower than 2018 premiums. The savings for 2019 individual market premiums is estimated to be $481 million. The actuarial review by the Maryland Insurance Administration represented $75 million in savings and the 1332 waiver resulted in $406 million of the total savings.

“As a result of these lower rates, the health insurance market in Maryland will finally have the chance to become more competitive and dynamic. This new, innovative program will lead to increased competition and more insurers entering the market, which will help make healthcare even more affordable for all Marylanders.” said Governor Larry Hogan.

“I am incredibly proud of the bipartisan work we were able to accomplish this year under Governor Hogan’s leadership,” said Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr. “As a result of this effort, Marylanders in the Individual Health Insurance Market will receive a desperately needed decrease in premium rates. While this is a critical first step, it is only a temporary one. The MIA looks forward to working with the Governor’s team and the General Assembly to achieve long-term rate stability and to enhance competition in this critical market.”

Baltimore County Commission for Women to host diversity discussion at Perry Hall Library

BCCW DiversityThe Baltimore County Commission for Women will present its third interactive panel dicussion on Diversity Dimensions in Perry Hall next month.

Attendees will hear from a group of women who have “been motivated to move beyond simple tolerance and embrace the rich dimensions of diversity.”

Guest panelists will include Baltimore County Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts, Assistant Baltimore County Fire Chief Jennifer Aubert-Utz, and attorney Danette Zaghari-Mask.

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The event will be held at the Perry Hall Library on Thursday, October 4, 2018 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Registration is required by September 30, 2018.

Anyone wishing to attend can register here.

The Perry Hall Library is located at 9685 Honeygo Boulevard in Perry Hall.

Developer drops plans for Joppa Road child care center

News AlertThe developer of a planned child care center has backed off of the proposal.

Councilman David Marks, who strongly opposed the plan, released the following statement on Wednesday morning:

“I have just been informed that the developer of the proposed day care center at Joppa Road and Kahl Avenue has dropped plans for the project. There will be no hearing on September 25th (2019-0025-XA).

“I would like to thank all those who expressed their opinion about this proposal. I agreed that this was an inappropriate location, and I have encouraged the developer to look elsewhere.

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“The zoning here is DR 1H, or one house per acre, which is as low as allowed for residential development. I initiated the downzoning here in 2016.”

The proposal, submitted on behalf of Joppa Road Daycare LLC, included 56 parking spaces , with 24-foot entrances off of Kahl Avenue and Joppa Road.

Twelve schools win Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge

baltimore-county-public-schools-bcpsBaltimore County is a little bit cleaner and greener thanks to the efforts of school children and community members who participated in this year’s Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge.

County Executive Don Mohler, Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Verletta White, and Debbie Phelps, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, announced on Tuesday morning that twelve Baltimore County public schools were winners in this program, which resulted in thousands of volunteers participating in more than three hundred litter clean-ups around the county over the past year.

“We are just delighted with the enthusiastic response we’ve gotten to this program from our students, teachers and groups in the community who take pride in helping to clean up our neighborhoods and keep litter out of our waterways and the environment,” Mohler said.

“The Clean Green 15 Challenge is an effective, real-world way for our students to learn about the environment as they demonstrate pride in their schools and communities,” said BCPS Superintendent Verletta White.

“The Clean Green 15 challenge is a great, hands-on way for students and community members to get involved and make a difference by putting litter in its place,” said Baltimore County Council Chair Julian Jones.

Clean Green 15 Results:

Tons of Litter Collected, Thousands of Grant Dollars Distributed to Schools

The 2018 program resulted in 338 clean-ups conducted by 5,057 volunteers who picked up 3,471 bags of litter and debris. This is a 29% increase in volunteers over last year!

In addition to litter, Clean Green 15 volunteers collected many tons of bulk trash items from parks, stream banks, schoolyards and other locations around Baltimore County. Clean-ups included schoolchildren as well as community-based volunteer activity.

Through the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge, the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools awarded grants to the top winning schools to fund school-based instructional projects emphasizing the theme of environmental literacy.  Examples could include installing a reading garden or rain garden, planting trees, diverting downspouts, or environmental education projects. Six schools won Honorable Mention awards and received technology prizes.

Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge 

Winning Schools—2018

AwardPrizeSchool
Grand Prize—Volunteers$3,000 grantReisterstown Elementary School
Grand Prize—Weight$3,000 grantGeneral John Stricker Middle School
Elementary Schools Prize$1,500 grantChesapeake Terrace Elementary School
Middle Schools Prize$1,500 grantParkville Middle School and Center for Technology
High Schools Prize$1,500 grantDulaney High School
Special Schools Prize$1,500 grantBattle Monument School
Honorable MentioniPadBear Creek Elementary School
Honorable MentioniPadEdgemere Elementary School
Honorable MentioniPadLansdowne High School
Honorable MentioniPadMilbrook Elementary School
Honorable MentioniPadPerry Hall Middle School
Honorable MentioniPadStoneleigh Elementary School

2018 Sponsors:

BGE, Comcast, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability

Winners of Baltimore County’s Clean Green 15 anti-litter initiative to be announced at Parkville Middle

Parkville Middle SchoolBaltimore County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Verletta White and Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler will announce the 12 winning schools of the annual “Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge.”

The announcement will be made at Parkville Middle School on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

The top performing schools will be awarded grants to create environmental projects. This year, the litter challenge involved more than 5,000 volunteers who participated in 338 clean-ups throughout Baltimore County, resulting in the removal of tons of trash from school and community properties. The anti-litter initiative encouraged BCPS schools and community organizations to conduct litter clean-ups and anti-littering outreach this past year.

Debbie Phelps, executive director of The Education Foundation of BCPS, will serve as the program emcee.

Through the initiative, participating groups registered their “Clean Green” events on the BCPS website and designated which BCPS school would receive credit for their efforts. Environmental literacy grants from The Education Foundation of BCPS are awarded to schools based on the clean-up activity credited to winning schools as well as other anti-litter education and outreach efforts.

Grants are to be used for school-based instruction that emphasizes the theme of environmental literacy. Sponsors include BGE, The Education Foundation of BCPS, the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, and BCPS.

Parkville Middle School is located at 8711 Avondale Road in Parkville (21234).