Maryland: 21,500 Marylanders gain coverage via #COVID19 & Easy Enrollment SEPs

Updated numbers from Maryland Health Connect:

MORE THAN 21,500 MARYLANDERS OBTAIN HEALTH COVERAGE THROUGH STATE SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIODS

  • Special Enrollments for Coronavirus Emergency, Tax Filers Allow Uninsured Additional Opportunities to Enroll Through Maryland Health Connection

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 21,500 residents have enrolled in coverage through the state’s health insurance marketplace, Maryland Health Connection. Earlier this month, the deadlines for both special enrollment periods were extended to accommodate growing health concerns as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the new tax filing deadline.

The coronavirus special enrollment period, which began a month ago and now runs through June 15, has resulted in more than 19,000 residents obtaining health coverage — 61 percent in Medicaid and the remainder in private insurance, with most of those qualifying for financial help to lower the cost of the plan.

Hmmm...that's roughly 7,410 QHP enrollments in 31 days or around 239/day. This is actually down somewhat from the 261/day they had been averaging previously, which I'm surprised at...although this past week also included Easter Weekend, which may have made a difference (then again, given the #ShelterInPlace orders, it's not like a lot of people had big holiday weekend plans, so maybe not). I'll have to keep an eye on this.

The Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program, a partnership between the Office of Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, has resulted in nearly 2,500 residents getting coverage. The extended deadline for this special enrollment period, now July 15, coincides with the new state income tax filing and payment deadline.

Back on March 12th, the MD exchange reported that 18,000 people had "checked the box" on the Easy Enrollment Program. That didn't mean they actually enrolled in either Medicaid or subsidized ACA exchange plans; it just meant that they had expressed interest in doing so. Now they're reporting that 2,500 of those folks getting covered. They don't break out Medicaid vs. ACA plans, however.

“It is good to see so many Marylanders taking the opportunity that is provided by our special enrollment periods to get coverage for themselves and their families, but many across the state still need health insurance,” said Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

“We want to make sure as many people as possible use these special enrollment periods to get covered,” added Eberle. “We’re doing everything in our power to reach the uninsured, but the reality is that it’s going to take all of us. If you know someone who does not have health insurance, please tell them to visit our website or call our call center. Any eligible uninsured resident who does not have health coverage can get it now, during the coronavirus emergency special enrollment period. So, if you’re reading this right now, do your part and share this information.”

To get coverage through the Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program, it is as simple as checking a box. When prompted on state tax forms (502 and 502B) filers have the option to share information, like household size and income, with the Maryland Health Benefit

Exchange to see if they are eligible for free or low-cost health insurance. Choosing to check the box will result in Maryland Health Benefit Exchange mailing the tax filer a letter to let them know if they are eligible for free or low-cost health coverage.

To enroll, visit the website. Individuals also can download the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. Free consumer assistance is available by calling 855-642-8572 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Help is available in more than 200 languages through the call center, as well as Relay service for the deaf and hard of hearing. Trained navigators and brokers statewide will offer help enrolling over the phone. You can find locations and contact information at the website or on the mobile app.

Last year, nine out of 10 Marylanders who enrolled through Maryland Health Connection were eligible for free coverage or financial help to lower the cost of their coverage. This special enrollment period is for private health plans. Those who qualify for Medicaid may enroll any time of year.