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2012
Xinis to Co-chair State Health Benefits Advisory Group

Calvert Memorial Hospital President and CEO Jim Xinis has been named co-chair of the advisory group that will make recommendations about the essential health benefits, such as hospitalization, prescription coverage and preventive services, to be offered by health insurance plans in Maryland’s individual and small group health insurance markets.

Xinis, who has been involved in health care for more than 35 years, was tapped by the Governor’s Office of Health Care Reform to head the 20-member committee that includes a diverse cross-section of carriers, providers, advocates and users. His co-chair is Dr. David Stewart of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“I am honored to serve in this capacity. We have a tight timetable to complete this important work,” said Xinis, “but we are fortunate to have the support and expertise of an outstanding group of professionals from diverse backgrounds on our committee.”

The committee is scheduled to meet throughout the summer and submit its report to the Health Care Reform Coordinating Council (HCRCC) in late August. Legislation signed into Maryland law this year requires the HCRCC to select the state’s benchmark for plans in the health insurance exchange, which must comply with federal and state laws, by Sept. 30.

Xinis, who has been very active in statewide healthcare issues, has served in several leadership roles with the Maryland Hospital Association and was on the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board for six years. In 2007, he was appointed to the board of directors of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and is the only Maryland hospital executive to serve in that capacity.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), upheld in a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in a 5-4 vote, requires states to either establish and operate a health insurance exchange by 2014 or participate in the federal exchange. Maryland chose to operate its own exchange and forged ahead with early planning, taking advantage of federal grants to implement the necessary infrastructure.

The state-based insurance exchange is intended to form a new competitive marketplace that will allow Marylanders to compare rates and quality among plans to help individuals and small employers find an insurance product that best suits their needs. The goal of the new system is to make quality care affordable to more residents and to make insurance rates and coverage plans more transparent for individual consumers and small businesses.

The advisory group, under the direction of Xinis and Stewart, is tasked with balancing the comprehensiveness of benefits with plan affordability and to accommodate to the extent possible the state’s diverse health needs. The committee is scheduled to review and analyze the various options being offered by the eligible plans and to facilitate written and oral comments from other stakeholders and the public prior to submitting its report to the Health Care Reform Coordinating Council.

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