Maryland's Small Business Health Insurance Partnership

By Christina Fisher | September 28, 2010

The latest phase of Governor Martin O'Malley's health care expansion plan began September 9, 2008, with the start of enrollment to the Health Insurance Partnership, a premium subsidy initiative for small businesses.

Eligibility in the Health Insurance Partnership is limited to a small business that has two to nine full-time employees, has not offered health insurance to its employees during the previous 12 months, and has an average wage below $50,000. Businesses that meet these criteria may be eligible to receive a subsidy of up to 50 percent of their health insurance premium.

The Health Insurance Partnership is a coordinated effort between DHMH, the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC), and participating insurance carriers and employers. Made possible by the 2007 passage of the Working Families and Small Business Health Coverage Act, enrollment in the small business portion of the Act began September 9, with coverage effective on October 1. Employers will have their choice of health benefit plans offered by CareFirst BCBS, Coventry Health Care, United Healthcare, and Aetna.

The Partnership is expected to enroll over 1,500 businesses in its first year. Enrollment will be capped to stay within the program's approved annual budget. The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) is charged with the administration of the Partnership.

More information on the Health Insurance Partnership is available by clicking on the "Working Families and Small Business Coverage" link located under "Hot Topics" at

For additional information about the assistance available to small businesses, log on to or call 410-764-3460.