Officials say enrollments this year have been steady.
Baltimore, Md (KM) Open enrollment for health insurance through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is scheduled to close on Tuesday, January 31st.
“Insurance signups have been pretty steady, pretty close to what the enrollments were last year,” says Andrew Ratner, spokesman for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. “I’d say about 151,000 have enrolled since November 1st,” when open enrollment began.
“And in Frederick County, also, the signups have been pretty close,” he says. “I think we’re about 5900 people right now in Frederick who have enrolled. Last year, at this time, it was about 6100. Off a couple of hundred but still pretty solid.”
The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange was set up as part of the Affordable Care Act, which was passed by Congress in 2010.
During the 2016 campaign, Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace the law. Ratner says it’s uncertain what that could mean for the Health Benefit Exchange, and all the people who have signed up for health insurance through the Exchange. “It’s still the law of the land in Maryland so we’re fulfilling that law and going forward in that way,” he says.
Ratner also says citizens who are thinking about enrolling for health insurance through the Exchange but are worried about what could happen if the Affordable Care Act is repealed should do so as soon as they can before the deadline. “We don’t know what the future holds per say, but I think a lot of people are getting coverage and continuing to get coverage,” he says.
For those who can’t afford it, Ratner says there are tax credits to help them pay for it. “Marylanders last year received about $280-million in total in tax credits to help offset their costs of plans. The average household got about $325 a month for helping lower their out-of-pocket costs. That money is there right now so they should get in and get enrolled,” he says.
Marylanders can enroll for coverage through the Health Exchange by going on line to www.marylandhealthconnection.gov, or download the free mobile app “enroll mhc.” They can also call toll free at 1-855-642-8572.
Ratner says the Health Exchange has benefited a lot of Marylanders who didn’t have coverage before. “This was a life saver. They’re gotten coverage that otherwise they wouldn’t be able to afford, or hadn’t been able to get for other reasons, health histories and such,” he says.
By Kevin McManus