750 East Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland, November 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
To provide Marylanders with high quality, affordable private health plans at competitive prices, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange administers the State-based health insurance marketplace called Maryland Health Connection. Opened to enroll individuals on October 1, 2013, Maryland Health Connection helps individuals purchase qualified health plans in the individual insurance market. Also, since April 1, 2014, small business owners have been able to enroll their employees in health insurance plans certified under the Small Business Options Program (SHOP). Employers with from one to fifty employees may purchase insurance plans directly from a carrier, a third-party administrator, or a broker, and, for those who are eligible, receive federal small business tax credits.
Open enrollment for individual coverage starting January 1, 2018 began on November 1, 2017 and was to end on December 15, 2017. On December 13, 2017, however, open enrollment through Maryland Health Connection was extended until December 22, 2017 for 2018 coverage. Those who had a qualified health plan through the Exchange in 2017 had until December 22, 2017, to update their information and change plans for 2018. Otherwise, they automatically were renewed in the same plan, or a similar plan if their plan changed.
The open enrollment period for individual coverage in 2017 began on November 1, 2016, and ended January 31, 2017. For 2017, some 157,637 Marylanders are enrolled in private health insurance plans through the marketplace. Medicaid expansion authorized under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act covers an additional 274,159 individuals in Maryland.
During the open enrollment period, consumers were able to evaluate their health insurance options, including an estimate of financial assistance, on the Exchange website (www.marylandhealthconnection.gov).
CUSTOMER SUPPORT CENTER
The Customer Support Center may be reached by a toll-free hotline (1-855-642-8572), where certified navigators and insurance brokers are available to assist consumers. Since November 8, 2014, the public also has been able to enroll through Maryland Health Connection, the website of the State-based health insurance marketplace.
Effective October 1, 2017, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is to have a program for the continual, economical and efficient management of its records. The Exchange's Records Officer develops and oversees the program, and serves as liaison to the Records Management Division of the Department of General Services, and to the State Archives (Chapter 539, Acts of 2017; Code State Government Article, secs. 10-608 through 10-611).
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