BALTIMORE (AP) — The board of trustees for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange has voted to move forward with a federal application for a reinsurance program.

The board voted Monday to proceed with the program that Gov. Larry Hogan and state lawmakers approved to hold down consumer costs to Maryland’s individual market for health insurance for 2019 and 2020.

The vote creates the parameters for a reinsurance program. It also authorizes the exchange to apply to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to request federal approval for a waiver to create the program.

Reinsurance sets aside money to help insurance companies cover the most expensive medical claims.

Maryland officials feared the state’s individual health insurance market could collapse under rate increases of up to 50 percent without action.

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(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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