ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — With the Maryland General Assembly exploring revenue sources to fund a program to improve elementary and secondary education in public schools, the state’s insurance commissioner is working a bill to exempt policyholders from any tax that would increase consumer premiums on their policies.
House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery) proposed a rollback of the state sales tax, but generating that lost revenue from a “personal services tax” that would extend to charges for anything from lawn care to haircuts to legal fees to plumbing repairs- even to agent brokerage fees when writing an insurance policy.
“Most Marylanders would see a five percent increase,” says state insurance commissioner Al Redmer, Jr. “Especially when it comes to health insurance, this will cause financial hardship.”
Aside from the impact on consumers, Redmer is concerned about a decline in jobs in the state’s insurance industry which employs 50,000.
“A tax on premiums makes Maryland a less attractive place to do business,” Redmer says. “A competitive marketplace means keeping prices under control.”
Redmer points to the growth of new insurance carriers entering the Maryland market place, giving consumers more options.
“Since 2015, 200 new companies have introduced additional lines of insurance here which gives prospective policyholders more choice,” says Redmer. “Expanding the sales tax would simply place too great a burden on Maryland families.”
Redmer is also lobbying lawmakers to pass a bill that gives policyholders control over a transfer of your medical records should you change insurance companies. He seeks to close a loophole in federal law that gives an insurance carrier the right to disclose your protected health information to another insurer in certain circumstances. Under Redmer’s proposal, sharing such information would now require your approval if you transition to a new carrier.