Related story: Maryland businesses split on Supreme Court insurance ruling
Maryland hospitals and insurers received some clarity with Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the federal health insurance law, officials said.
The court’s decision provides “increased certainty” about the direction of health care reform, said Johnny Hagerman, a spokesman for MedStar Health. The Columbia medical system, which includes hospitals such as MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore and MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, has long been preparing for changes, he said.
“It doesn’t really change what we are already doing,” Hagerman said. “It was a very important ruling for the American people and for health care providers.”
MedStar has viewed the law’s individual mandate, guaranteed issuance of insurance and prohibition of pre-existing condition limitations as key components of meaningful health reform, and is pleased the Supreme Court upheld those elements, officials said.
As the largest health care provider in Montgomery County, Adventist HealthCare — a Rockville system that includes Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville and Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park — will continue to play a key role in the community’s medical needs, President and CEO William G. “Bill” Robertson said in a statement. He did not comment directly on the Supreme Court ruling.
The federal law is not perfect, but already has helped Maryland residents, Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, said in a statement.
“Taken to its full effect, [the law] promises better coverage and care for generations to come,” Coyle said.
Members of insurer Kaiser Permanente, which has about 500,000 members in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., should not be concerned about disruption to coverage, officials said.
“We are implementing state and federal reform laws as an integrated delivery system, which not only incorporates provisions around health care coverage, but also addresses broader improvements to the way health care is delivered,” Kaiser officials said in a statement. “This work involves continuing to improve the quality and integration of care, and ensuring that we have the resources in place — physicians, nurses and other staff, as well as the right health care facilities — to provide the care our members will need.”
A spokesman with Coventry Health Care in Bethesda, the state’s biggest medical insurance company with more than 5 million subscribers nationally, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Coventry’s stock fell 2.3 percent Thursday to $32.46, while the stock of Aetna, another insurer with a significant number of members in Maryland, dropped 2.7 percent to $39.85. Analysts blamed such declines on the law being likely to stifle profit margins for insurers.