Edward Brown heard a radio ad recently and realized the clock was ticking: If he wanted health insurance, the Baltimore truck driver needed to find time to sign up before the end of March.
He found his way to the downtown offices of HealthCare Access Maryland, which employs "navigators" to help people sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
"It's comforting," said Brown, as navigator Athena Lynch typed in his information to create an account on the Maryland health exchange website. "For three years, I didn't have it. … What if I stepped on a nail or caught a cold or needed to go to the emergency room?"
Exchange officials in...