MARYLAND (WDVM) — A new Maryland bill was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan Thursday to support emergency action during the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor’s office said Hogan signed the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020 on Thursday, and it “specifies additional measures that the governor may take to address the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including facilitating access and delivery of health care.”
The act empowers the governor to:
- Prohibit cost-sharing by insurance carriers for COVID-19 testing and associated costs
- Establish or waive telehealth protocols
- Require carriers and Medicaid to cover a COVID-19 immunization (should one be developed) and any associated costs, without cost-sharing, for certain patients
- Work with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), the Maryland Insurance Commissioner, and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to minimize disruption in enrollment in health insurance and Medicaid
- Allow MDH to offer more flexibility in staffing during the state of emergency
- Prohibit employers from terminating an employee solely on the basis that the employee has been required to be isolated or quarantined or if the individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection COVID–19 or to care for a family member due to COVID-19
- Provides flexibility to the Secretary of Labor to allow workers who have not been terminated to collect unemployment insurance if their employer has been closed due to COVID-19, if they have been quarantined, or if they are caring for a family member who is quarantined
The bill also prevents retailers to price gouge essential items like food and fuel during the pandemic.
A list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.