A record number of Marylanders – 182,166 – enrolled in coverage for 2023 through Maryland Health Connection, the state’s health insurance marketplace, in its 10th year of operation.
Open enrollment began on November 1, 2022, and ended on January 15. People who enrolled in January will start coverage on February 1.
“We’re very happy to continue to have success in reaching Marylanders in need of affordable health coverage,” said Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which runs the state’s health insurance marketplace. Total enrollment has grown five consecutive years and by more than 15 percent since just before Covid-19 and the public health emergency.
Although total enrollment was up just slightly from a year ago, when 181,603 enrolled, progress continued with communities who have proportionately lacked health coverage, such as Black and Hispanic residents.
Enrollment by individuals who self-identified as Black grew by nearly 3 percent to 31,325 from 30,535 a year ago.
Enrollment by Hispanic residents grew by 9 percent to 22,106 from 20,241 a year ago. It grew even more so among Hispanic young adults ages 18-34: by nearly 13 percent in just one year, from 5,572 to 6,286.
Overall, renewal enrollments were up 4 percent to 147,961, from 141,945 a year ago. New enrollments were down 14 percent, to 34,205 from 39,658 a year ago. Also, enrollments by people ineligible for a federal tax credit grew 13 percent, to 43,821 from 38,953 a year ago. Enrollments with federal financial help dipped by 3 percent, to 138,345 from 142,650 a year ago.
Even after open enrollment, opportunities for people to enroll who lack coverage will continue.
Marylanders who check a box on their state tax returns will be able to enroll in the “Easy Enrollment” program offered through the office of the Comptroller. Since Maryland launched “Easy Enrollment” four years ago, more than 10,000 people have gained coverage through it, a half-dozen states have copied it, and federal legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland seeks to roll it out nationwide.
Marylanders who lose their jobs and file for unemployment insurance can also check a box during that application process to request help with health coverage. More than 3,000 have done so since that program launched last summer in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Labor.
MHBE and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) also are putting plans in place to help tens of thousands of people who will need health insurance as they become disenrolled from Medicaid in 2023. Eligibility rules to remain in Medicaid coverage had been eased nearly three years ago in response to the public health threat, but the federal government is ending that emergency policy this spring. MHBE and MDH will reach out to everyone affected. Most will have the option to transition immediately into low-cost private coverage through Maryland Health Connection. Anyone who is eligible for Medicaid can enroll any time.