MARYLAND HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS

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 (www.marylandhealthconnection.gov). The current regular open enrollment period began on November 1, 2020 and ended on December 15, 2020 for individual coverage to start January 1, 2021.

Coronavirus Emergency Special Open Enrollment. Due to the pandemic coronavirus, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange opened a new special enrollment period for all Marylanders in need of health insurance during this state of emergency.

From March 26, 2021 through August 15, 2021, a new special enrollment period ran in which all uninsured Maryland residents had the opportunity to enroll in health coverage due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent rise in the positivity rate throughout the State. Coverage dates varied based on when a Marylander enrolled in a plan:

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.


BOARD OF TRUSTEES

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).


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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

COMPLIANCE

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