To reduce the number of Maryland residents who have no health insurance, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange was established as a public corporation and an independent unit of State government in June 2011 (Chapter 2, Acts of 2011; Code Insurance Article, secs. 31-101 through 31-111).

[photo, 750 East Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland] Maryland formed the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to meet requirements of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-152). The federal statute requires each state to establish a health benefit exchange by January 1, 2014 or choose one run by the federal government. Maryland chose to operate its own exchange, and received conditional federal approval of its marketplace governance and structure in December 2012. The first day of operation of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange was October 1, 2013.

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. During the regular open enrollment period, consumers evaluate their health insurance options, including an estimate of financial assistance, on the Exchange website. The current regular open enrollment period began on November 1, 2021 and ended February 28, 2022. Individual coverage started February 1, 2022, if you enrolled by January 31, or March 1, 2022, if you enrolled by February 28. During this period, you could have signed up for a plan that works best for you or made changes to your current health plan by visiting or calling 1-855-642-8572. Marylanders who qualify for Medicaid can enroll at any time.

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.


The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is governed by a nine-member Board of Trustees. Six of the Board's members are appointed by the Governor to four-year terms, and three serve ex officio. With the approval of the Governor, the Board appoints the Executive Director (Code Insurance Article, secs. 3-104, 3-105).


The Executive Director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is appointed by the Board of Trustees with the Governor's approval.


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