Residents who don’t have health insurance have until Dec. 15th to sign up.
Baltimore, Md (KM) Residents who don’t have health insurance are reminded that open enrollment through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is coming an end next week. The deadline is Friday, December 15th.
Betsy Plunkett, Deputy Director of Marketing for the Exchange, says 20 enrollment events are taking place throughout the state this weekend. None are occurring in Frederick County. The closest ones are at the Washington County Library’s main branch at 100 South Potomac Street in Hagerstown on Saturday, December 9th from 10:30 AM until 4:00 PM; and the Germantown Regional Service Center, 12900 Middlebrook Road, 2nd Floor, Germantown from 9:30 AM until 3:00 PM.
Plunkett also says if you can’t make it to either one of these events, you can enroll by calling the Exchange’s toll free number at 1-855-642-8572, or go on line to www.marylandhealthconnection.gov/last-change/ to sign up.
If you come to these events or sign up over the phone or on line, bring along Social Security number; the birthdates of you and your family members who are signing up; policy numbers of any health insurance you may have; employer information, such as pay stubs, W-2 forms or wage and tax statements; and information on job-related health insurance available to your family. Those coming in person need to bring a photo i.d.
This year, only two health insurance companies are participating in the Exchange: Care First and Kaiser Permanente. . “We did have a few more to start, and over the years, they’ve decreased somewhat. But these are the two major insurers in the state, and they have great networks in most of the counties. So people are able to get the help they need through these two insurers,” says Plunkett.
The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is set up under the Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010. Since the election of Donald Trump as President, efforts have been made by Republicans in Congress to do away with this law. All of them have failed. But “repeal and replace” could come back. Despite that, Plunkett says anyone who needs health insurance should sign up before December 15th. “The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. You’re still required to have health insurance,” she says. “And even if you weren’t, the peace of mind that goes along with knowing what will happen if you have an accident or illness, you’ll get covered.”
Plunkett says it usually gets very busy at the Exchange as the open enrollment deadline gets ever closer. “We always have a big rush toward the last deadline. We only have one deadline this year and that’s December 15th to enroll in a 2018 plan,” she says. “That’s does not pertain to you if you’re on Medicaid. You’ll get your renewal notice.”
By Kevin McManus