State Prepares for Open Enrollment for Maryland Health Insurance Exchange |  Maryland Daily Record

State Prepares for Open Enrollment for Maryland Health Insurance Exchange | Maryland Daily Record

A staff member explains the coverage options available on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to a resident of Prince George’s County in 2019. (Maryland Health Benefit Exchange)

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is making it easier for people to see which plans will cost them the least, as the November 1 exchange opens its annual open enrollment period.

Open enrollment will continue through Jan. 15, with federal and state funds to reduce health insurance costs for those who don’t have access to affordable employer-provided coverage or aren’t eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.

In March, Governor Larry Hogan announced that a record 182,861 people had registered during the 2022 open registration period, which was extended due to the pandemic.

Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, said the record was due to a number of factors, but mostly because Maryland’s offerings were among the most affordable plans in the country. The state estimates there are still 300,000 people in Maryland who need insurance, so it hopes to re-enroll many and reach more.

“We try to make it as easy as possible for people to understand what’s available to them,” Eberle said.

Premiums are up this year, but with Maryland’s Reinsurance Program and Young Adult Subsidy, as well as federal tax credits extended for another three years, rates are still low, she said.

For example, a 28-year-old Baltimore City resident earning about $32,000 a year could be insured for a premium cost of about $20 a month. That resident would be eligible for a $17 monthly bonus with a gold plan to keep disbursements low, she said.

People must make selections by December 31 in order to make changes or enroll in a plan that begins January 1.

On the exchange’s website,, interested residents can enter basic details in the “Get a Quote” tool and be presented with the cheapest overall plan. In recent years, people have often chosen plans based on the lowest premiums.

This year, the website will help people weigh the value of a cost-sharing reduction if they qualify. The cost-sharing reduction is available through the federal Affordable Care Act to reduce out-of-pocket costs for eligible enrollees who select silver-level plans in the marketplace.

“It’s much better coverage at a lower cost,” Eberle said.

She said two pockets of Maryland’s population could be particularly helped by getting coverage through the exchange: young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 and people between the ages of 55 and 65 who are self-employed or who took early retirement but are not yet eligible for Medicare.

This year, more people may be eligible to participate in the exchange. To be eligible, people must not already have access to affordable health insurance. Under a new rule from the Internal Revenue Service, the definition of affordable employer coverage has been changed to determine whether it is affordable for the whole family – if the price of coverage for the whole household exceeds 9.12% of household income, as opposed to the price of a single individual coverage exceeding 9.12%.

There are also several special registration periods throughout the year to reach people who miss open registration. This includes people who find out they are eligible for the exchange when they file their taxes and check a box for easy entry on their tax return.

And starting July 1, 2022, Marylanders with incomes below 150% of the federal poverty level ($20,385 for an individual, $41,625 for a family of 4) can enroll in a plan. health through Maryland Health Connection year-round, regardless of enrollment. periods, as long as Congress continues to improve tax credits for this population.

There is no longer a cap on the amount of total household income to receive tax credits, so people are eligible for credits if their healthcare costs exceed 8.5% of total household income. housework.

Previously, these credits were not available to people who earned more than 400% of the federal poverty level.

Those who are young often don’t feel like they need insurance, but Eberle urges those people to consider it for unforeseen medical emergencies, as well as the ability to get vaccines and preventive tests covered.

“We hope that newly insured people have now found the value of having this insurance, and while their circumstances may have changed, they will want to continue to have this coverage,” Eberle said.

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