December 15 Deadline To Enroll For Health Care In Maryland

The door is closing on the opportunity to sign up for 2020 health insurance coverage through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. With the December 15 deadline fast approaching, officials have worked to point out that costs are down and more affordable than last year.

This year, residents have the option of Value Plans, which feature lower deductibles and increased access to primary care, mental health care, and generic drugs before deductibles apply. Value plans are designed to lower consumers’ out-of-pocket costs for the health care services the majority of people use most frequently.

“Not only are most premiums going down, but we are excited to introduce our new Value Plans,” Michele Eberle, the executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which operates the state’s health insurance marketplace, stated in a news release.

“These plans offer deductibles that are hundreds or even thousands of dollars cheaper than in 2019,” Eberle said. “Value plans are designed to give Marylanders more access to primary care, mental health care, and generic drugs before their deductibles apply.”

Officials are hoping that everyone takes advantage of coverage. A year ago, enrollment via Maryland Health Connection reached 153,963 during the open enrollment period for coverage, which was a 2.2 percent increase over 2018, when 153,571 bought plans.

In September, the Maryland Insurance Administration announced that average individual market health insurance premiums (before any subsidies are applied) would be 10.3 percent lower in 2020 than they were in 2019.

As the deadline to sign up for 2020 coverage approaches, the Maryland Health Connection announced it would hold as many as 20 “Last Chance” events throughout the state during the final week leading up to the December 15 deadline.

Residents can enroll in health and dental coverage through the Maryland Health Connection, the state’s insurance marketplace.

At the free “Last Chance” events, certified health insurance navigators will help Marylanders sign up for a health plan and understand their coverage options and financial help available. Assistance also is available in Spanish.

Residents can visit: MarylandHealthConnection.gov or the Enroll MHC mobile app to browse plans, compare coverage and costs, and enroll. Among the choices of health care providers for Maryland residents are CareFirst Blue Choice; CareFirst of Maryland, Inc.; and Kaiser Permanente.

“The fall open enrollment is for private health and dental plans only. People who have coverage through Medicaid will receive a notice when it’s time to renew; enrollment for Medicaid is all year for eligible Marylanders,” Eberle said.

To learn more about 2020 health insurance plans and prices, Marylanders can visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov. To find free, in-person help at an upcoming event, visit: MarylandHealthConnection.gov/LastChance.