Obamacare signups rise on first day of enrollment period in Maryland

Enrollments in health insurance through the state’s health exchange was robust on the first day of open enrollment Wednesday, with more people signing up for insurance than last year, officials said Thursday.

Advocates and others had expressed concern that consumers would be confused by political wrangling and policy changes to the Affordable Care Act from the administration of Pres. Donald Trump that led to last-minute rate increases and a severe decrease in marketing dollars for the program.

But exchange officials reported that enrollments under the law, known as Obamacare, were up 70 percent to more than 1,800 compared with 1,055 on the first day a year ago. About 150,000 people signed up for private insurance on the exchange in the state last year and more enrolled directly through insurers.

Website traffic on marylandhealthconnection.gov also was up to about 16,000 views. That’s up nearly 40 percent from 11,600 a year ago. Dental enrollments were up 77 percent on the first day, to 1,095 from 617 one year ago. Use of a mobile app increased from 2,622 views to 7,711.

“A good turnout for Day 1 and we hope it continues,” said Andrew Ratner, a spokesman for the exchange, which provides coverage mostly for people who do not get their insurance through their jobs.

Open enrollment began Wednesday and will last for 45 days, about half the time as past years.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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