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Obamacare State Update: Maryland

Obamacare State Update: Maryland

Posted Mar 17, 2014 by Jenifer Dorsey

Exchange type: State-based
Website: marylandhealthconnection.gov
Medicaid expansion: Yes
Enrollment update: Between Oct. 1, 2013, and March 1, 2014, Maryland Health Connection has had 38,279 enrollees in private health plans offered through the exchange—20,439 have made their first premium payment.1

Maryland is among the 26 states, including Washington, D.C., that opted to expand their Medicaid programs under Obamacare. Maryland Medicaid enrollment breaks down as follows:

  • 95,889 Marylanders signed up through the state’s previously existing Primary Adult Care program and were automatically enrolled in Medicaid coverage on Jan. 1, 2014
  • An additional 71,449 Marylanders were newly enrolled in Medicaid effective Jan. 1, 2014, as of Feb. 25, 2014
  • More than 100,000 Marylanders received an initial determination of Medicaid eligibility through Maryland Health Connection

Maryland Health Connection estimates that as many as three-fourths of individuals and families enrolling in private health coverage through the exchange will qualify for tax credits and other assistance to reduce their costs.2 Further breakdowns of Medicaid and qualified health plan enrollee demographics have not been made available at this time.
In an analysis from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Maryland ranks 37th when it comes to the total number of individuals determined eligible to enroll in a Marketplace plan (the plans sold through state-based and federally facilitated health insurance exchanges) and 28th when it comes to the number of individuals who have selected one.
Maryland Health Connection offers individuals, families and small businesses more than 60 medical and dental plan options.
In related news: Maryland Health Connection’s rollout process has been notoriously rocky. The exchange website crashed on the first day of open enrollment; by the following morning, only four people had signed up through it.3 Glitches have persisted throughout open enrollment, and earlier this week it was announced that a federal inspector will audit the site to investigate how the state spent federal funds and the creation of Maryland Health Connection.4
In its latest enrollment report—and previous reports—Maryland Health Connection acknowledged the technical glitches and assured consumers that the most frustrating ones have been fixed and others were still being addressed. Those who run into issues trying to shop and enroll on the state’s exchange website are encouraged to do the following:
·      Visit Maryland Health Connection’s Consumer Information  page to look for notices and navigation tips, try back at a later time
·      Call customer support at 855-642-8572 to discuss the issue and start an application over the phone
·      Talk to a customer assistance worker or authorized insurance agent. The state offers in-person assistance through six Connector organizations and 50 grassroots organizations that employ 158 navigators and 171 assistors, according to the latest enrollment report. Visit Maryland Health Connection’s Consumer Assistance page to locate helpers near you.
Additional resources:

1 Maryland Health Connection (2014, March 7). “Report from the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange About Maryland Health Connection, the State-Based Health Insurance Marketplace.”
2 Ibid.
3 Davis, Aaron C. and Mary Pat Flaherty. (2014, January 11). “Maryland Officials Were Warned for a Year of Problems with Online Health Insurance Site.The Washington Post.
4 Fritz, John. (2014, March 9). “Federal Inspector to Audit Maryland Health Exchange.The Baltimore Sun.

Jenifer Dorsey is a freelance writer whose specialties include health and fitness, wellness, sports and recreation. She is a competitive amateur track cyclist who also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor adventure. Jenifer received a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and is an MFA candidate at Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.