May 23, 2024
Annapolis, US 72 F

Record Enrollment in Maryland Health Connection’s Latest Open Enrollment Period

Maryland Health Connection, the state’s health insurance marketplace, experienced a historic increase in enrollments during its recent open enrollment period. A total of 213,895 individuals enrolled between November 1, 2023, and January 15, 2024, marking a significant 17% increase from the previous year’s 182,166 enrollments. This marks the largest growth and the highest enrollment figures ever recorded for the marketplace.

Governor Wes Moore celebrated this achievement, emphasizing health care as a fundamental right and a step towards a healthier Maryland. He reiterated the state’s commitment to making health care affordable and accessible for all its residents. This milestone event was marked by Michele Eberle, executive director of Maryland Health Benefit Exchange; Ryan Moran, Deputy Secretary for Health Care Financing & Medicaid Director; and Traci Kodeck, CEO of HealthCare Access Maryland, at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange headquarters.

Dr. Laura Herrera Scott, Maryland’s Secretary of Health, highlighted the significance of collaboration in achieving this substantial growth in enrollments, ensuring affordable health coverage for Maryland residents. Michele Eberle acknowledged the challenges of health care costs, noting the state’s efforts to maintain affordable health coverage, especially as Medicaid’s continuous coverage ends.

Several key factors contributed to the record enrollment growth:

  1. Transition from Medicaid: Over 14,000 individuals, no longer eligible for Medicaid following the end of the pandemic public health emergency, enrolled in private health insurance through Maryland Health Connection. This figure is nearly four times higher than the previous year and represents nearly half of the additional total enrollments for 2024.
  2. Financial Assistance for Young Adults: More than 50,000 young adults in Maryland qualified for additional state-offered financial help, reducing their annual insurance premiums by approximately $450. This program, unique to Maryland, has been extended through 2025 and expanded to cover adults aged 18 to 37.
  3. Federal Tax Credits: The third full year of increased and expanded federal tax credits, originating from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and continuing through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, provided additional savings for enrollees.

There was a notable increase in enrollments among minority groups, with a 33% rise in Black applicants and a 30% increase in Hispanic residents. Particularly, enrollments among young adults in these groups saw significant increases. Additionally, overall new enrollments surged by 64%, and renewals increased by 7%.

The enrollment period also witnessed a growth in dental plan enrollments by 14% and the introduction of vision plans, with over 298 individuals opting for vision coverage.

Maryland Health Connection continues to offer enrollment opportunities outside the open enrollment period for those who experience qualifying life events or are eligible for Medicaid. Furthermore, through innovative “Easy Enrollment” programs, Marylanders can request health coverage assistance when filing state income tax returns or applying for unemployment insurance. These programs have set a precedent and been replicated in other states.

The success of this enrollment period demonstrates Maryland’s ongoing commitment to ensuring health coverage is both affordable and accessible, addressing the needs of various demographics across the state.

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