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Insurance exchange enrollment rises 36 percent in Maryland

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More than 1,700 Marylanders had enrolled in health insurance coverage through a new state marketplace from Oct. 1 through Nov. 9, and of those who signed up in October, most were women and middle-aged, state health officials said.

The enrollment total was a 36 percent increase in a week.

Along with its weekly update of enrollment and application processing numbers, Maryland Health Connection released demographic information on early enrollees for the first time. Women made up 55 percent of the enrollees.

Nearly two-thirds of those who enrolled between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2 were between the ages of 35 and 64; 21 percent were 25 to 34, 13 percent were 24 or younger and less than 1 percent were over 65.

The detailed statistics for Maryland came after the release of nationwide enrollment numbers Wednesday. Federal health officials said 106,000 Americans had signed up for coverage in October, the first month the exchanges were open as part of federal reforms launching in 2014.

That was one-fifth of the enrollment numbers federal Health and Human Services officials had targeted, and only about one-fourth of the enrollees signed up through HealthCare.gov, the federally run exchange for states that did not create their own marketplaces.

Maryland officials also revealed which types of plans people are buying. The largest numbers, nearly two-thirds, signed up for plans rated "bronze" and "silver," in which consumers pay for 40 percent and 30 percent of the costs of care, respectively. Sixteen percent signed up for "gold" plans and 19 percent signed up for "platinum" plans, in which consumers pay 20 percent and 10 percent of costs, respectively.

Nearly 84,000 people had signed up to be automatically enrolled in Medicaid insurance coverage because of broadened eligibility requirements effective next year.

Tens of thousands of others may be considering insurance purchases — 53,000 people had created accounts on the Maryland Health Connection website as of Nov. 9, allowing them to shop for plans.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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