Open enrollments begins Nov. 1st.
Baltimore, Md (KM) Residents who receive their insurance benefits through the Maryland Health Connection can start looking over plans for 2019 before enrollment. The plans are available on line at www.MarylandHealthConnection.gov, or they can be viewed on a mobile app.
Michele Eberle, the Executive Director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, says it’s wise to look over any health plan before signing up. “It’s critical this year that individuals shop around for plans because we have had a dramatic decrease in premium prices amongst all plans,:” she says. “People really need to come in and look around and see what plan best meets their needs.”
For those find insurance confusing, Eberle says there is help. “We have navigators that are located throughout the state that can sit with you face to face, and help you understand what all the terminology means and how to select a plan,” she says.
Because health insurance tends to be expensive, Eberle says financial assistance is available. “Under the Affordable Care Act, there are provisions for tax credits for individuals that make up to 400% of the federal poverty level,” she says. “And it’s a graduated scale. If you earn less, you are able to get higher tax credits. And the more you earn, that tapers down.”
Right now, there are only two insurance companies participating in the Maryland Health Connection: Kaiser Permanente and Care First. But Eberle hopes other carriers will come on board in the future. “We are actively pursuing new issuers to come into the marketplace,” she says. “We had a challenge in Maryland because premiums have been rising so fast that it’s been hard to attract new insurance carriers to come into the marketplace.”
But the State of Maryland created a reinsurance program which helps eliminate the risk carriers had to face through the Maryland Health Connection..
Eberle says right now, there are about 138,000 residents who receive their insurance through the Maryland Health Connection.
The Maryland Health Connection is administered by the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange which was established as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
By Kevin McManus