Health insurance

Health insurance enrollees set record in Maryland | Maryland

(The Center Square) — A new record has been set for Marylanders signing up for health coverage through the state’s health care portal, Gov. Larry Hogan said.

The Republican leader announcement As of Friday morning, 182,861 residents registered through Maryland Health Connection, a 10% increase over 2021’s open registration total of 166,038.

“We were proud to be one of four marketplaces to expand open listing in response to the omicron surge,” Hogan said in the release. “Among the many lessons of the pandemic is the importance of having affordable and reliable coverage, and Marylanders are covered in record numbers.”

The state joined Colorado, New York and the District of Columbia in extending the open enrollment period as the omicron variant led to an increase in cases in the state. The deadline has been extended until the end of February.

The program, the statement said, also saw a record number of new enrollees, with 47,315 health insurance enrollments. The new mark is a 70% increase with over 26,497 residents newly enrolling last year. Of that number, 8,000 new registrations occurred during the extended six-week period.

Among registrations, the statement said, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 registered in record numbers, surpassing the 50,000 mark. Registrations are up 7% from the previous year.

The rise in numbers is tied to $20 million in state funding that was intended to encourage young adults to buy insurance. The program reduced premiums by about $40 per month for more than 33,000 eligible young adults.

“We are very pleased that nearly 11,000 of these young adults are new to the Maryland Health Connection,” Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, said in the release. “This met state projections for the young adult subsidy pilot program which is also in place for next year.”

The savings, the release said, came from the American Rescue Plan Act, which covered all ages, with enrollment up more than 60% for middle-income families who earned more than 400% of the federal poverty level and were eligible for insurance.

The rate cut was a focus of new enrollments, which included communities of color that have traditionally disproportionately lacked health insurance. This year, registrations increased 11% within the black community to 30,776, and Hispanic registrations increased 14% to 20,396.

The release said stable rates were responsible for increasing the purchasing power of families in the state for health insurance coverage, with more than 18,000 platinum- or gold-level plans. Both plans have a slightly higher cost but offer lower deductibles.

There will be additional chances for uninsured residents to enroll in coverage; they will use the easy sign-up program. To participate in the program, residents will be permitted to acquire coverage by checking a box when filing income tax forms with the Comptroller.

The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange plans to launch a program later this year with the Department of Labor that would allow anyone who files a claim for unemployment insurance to check a box indicating they need coverage. The program will allow these residents to enroll in free or low-cost coverage.

Additionally, Medicaid-eligible residents can enroll at any time.