Nearly 158,000 Marylanders Enrolled For Health Insurance During Open Enrollment

Md. Health Connection has busiest day on last day of open enrollment.


Baltimore, Md (KM)  The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange says a total of 157,637 Marylanders enrolled for private health coverage through the Maryland Health Connection. “It’s off slightly from last year, down about 3%, which was about 162,000 at the end of open enrollment,” says Andrew Ratner, Director of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives  for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. “But we consider that fairly strong.”

Ratner also says if you include the  343,542 Marylanders who enrolled for Medicaid during open enrollment, the total number of people who signed up for health coverage was 501,179.

In Frederick County, 6,096 people signed up for health insurance through open enrollment, and 10,048 enrolled in Medicaid, which brings the total locally to 16,144.

Open enrollment was from November 1st, 2016 through January 31st, 2017.
Ratner says the last day to sign up was very busy at the Maryland Health Connection. “More than 20,000 calls were received. Our biggest day this year on our webpage, on the internet, about 56,000 visits. So it was very, very busy on the last day,” he says.

Coverage for anyone who enrolled for health insurance on January 31st will begin on March 1st.

“Medicaid enrollment since about November 1st was about 340,000 people. The total Medicaid population is Maryland is 1.3-million,” says Ratner.

The  Maryland Health Benefit Exchange says dental plans were  offered for the first time  last year. “This year, the uptake for dental plans was very dramatic, about 51,000 people, which was up nearly 70% from a year ago in dental plans,” says Ratner. “Particularly for children, something very important.”

He says the Maryland Health Connection has made a difference in bringing down the number of people who lack health insurance in Maryland. “There’s about 430,000 Marylarnders who have coverage. Just about five years ago, twice that many were without coverage. So we’ve cut in half the number of Marylanders that were without health insurance just a few years ago,” says Ratner.

The Maryland Health Connection is operating under the Affordable Care Act. Since Donald Trump was elected President, there is now talk about repealing and replacing that law.

Ratner admits there’s a concern among people who have signed up for coverage through the Maryland Health Exchange. “We can’t really speculate. I don’t think we have any more insight on that,” he says. “I think the insurance companies have their policies there; the subsidies for people who qualify for financial assistance are in effect. And that’s the way we’re continuing.”

He says if the Affordable Care Act remains mostly intact, open enrollment will begin again on November 1st, 2017.


By Kevin McManus