Insurance enrollment

Maryland’s program linking insurance registration to tax filing shows promise

States have begun to explore and launch facilitated enrollment strategies to directly connect uninsured consumers to market coverage opportunities and streamline the enrollment process. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Despite progress under the Affordable Care Act and the state’s expansion of Medicaid, nearly 33 million non-elderly Americans still did not have health insurance in 2019.

In recent years, encouraging those who are eligible for grants to sign up for Marketplace coverage has become a major goal for many states. Reducing the number of uninsured people improves the well-being of state residents and brings federal dollars into the state. States began to explore and launch easy enrollment strategies to directly connect uninsured consumers to market coverage opportunities and simplify the enrollment process.

Related: How the ‘Cost of Hassle’ Affects Decision Making Among Health Plan Members: Study

In May 2019, Maryland created the state’s new Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program (MEEHP), a tax-efficient enrollment pathway that offers assisted enrollment in Medicaid and qualified health plans. with a special registration period. The program, a partnership between the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and the Maryland Office of the Comptroller, represents the country’s first attempt to use tax filing as a ramp to health coverage. The new tax registration system came into effect in January 2020.

“The optimization of tax returns by the MEEHP offers both a remarkable opportunity to identify uninsured people and could help overcome one of the most serious barriers to coverage; namely, a lack of information on available assistance, ”according to a white paper from health insurance broker GetInsured. “Across the country, there are many misconceptions about the availability and affordability of health coverage, and Maryland expects their new program to help overcome these misconceptions.”

The white paper identified three key best practices for other states to implement similar programs:

  • Maximize enrollment by engaging as many consumers as possible.
  • Encourage consumers to apply by making the process easy to understand and undertake.
  • Make it easy for consumers to select packages and register by streamlining the application and registration process.

“Maryland’s early results are promising, and the fact that several states are following Maryland’s lead shows the enormous potential this type of program has to reduce uninsured rates,” the white paper concludes. “States with income tax and uninsured rates above a certain threshold should consider implementing this innovative program. “

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