Maryland has opened the first call center where people can take their questions about health reform.

The center that opened last week at 1 South Street in Baltimore has staff that can help Maryland residents and small businesses understand their insurance options and explain tax credits and other financial incentives in which they may be eligible under health reform.

The center, which has bi-lingual staff, will open on a limited basis from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sept. 30.

During open enrollment, the call center will open seven days and week and operate at full capacity with 125 staff. 

Open enrollment on a state exchange, where people who don't have employer-sponsored insurance can buy plans, begins Oct. 1. Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014 and implementation of reform begins in January.

Following open enrollment, the call center will open during normal business hours which are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

 

A translation help line will also provide translation services in 200 languages.

Marylanders can also call toll-free phone numbers: 855-642(MHC)-8572 or 1-855-642(MHC)-8573 for TTY service.

An estimated 14 percent of Maryland’s population of 5.8 million, or 800,000, are currently uninsured.