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HealthHealth Care

All Maryland health exchange insurers agree to extend deadline

InsuranceMichael E. Busch

All insurers selling policies on the state's health care exchange have agreed to extend the enrollment deadline for coverage that begins Jan. 1, state officials said Tuesday.

Kaiser Permanente, United Healthcare and Evergreen Health Co-op on Tuesday joined CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the state's largest insurer, in agreeing to extend the deadline four days to Dec. 27 from Dec. 23.

Consumers also now have until Jan. 15 to make their first premium payments to insurers.

"As we continue to improve the website's functionality, we are working to make it easier for Marylanders to get health care by working with the insurance community to extend the deadline for Marylanders to sign up for coverage on Jan. 1," said Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown in a statement. "While we still have work to do, we're committed to expanding access to quality affordable care."

The news comes as the state grapples with a year-end deadline to get people new policies that meet requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

Technical problems with the online insurance marketplace have complicated the state's effort to enroll 150,000 people in private plans by March 31, when Americans will face a tax penalty if they don't have health coverage.

Republicans in Annapolis also continued their call for an investigator with subpoena powers to look into what went wrong with the state's $107 million online insurance marketplace.

Senate Minority Leader David R. Brinkley called the exchange "a fiasco" Tuesday at a meeting of top Annapolis lawmakers.

"We also have to know the timeline: who knew what, and when," Brinkley told the Legislative Policy Committee, which is co-chaired by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, both Democrats. The committee oversees all other State House committees and has power to impanel a special group to conduct investigations.

"We will certainly listen to your request and, perhaps, move forward with a standing committee or a special committee," Miller responded.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

ecox@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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