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Some drop exchange health plans during last month

Maryland's health exchange reported Friday a decline in the number of people who were covered by private plans through the online insurance portal created by the Affordable Care Act.

But the total number of people obtaining coverage through the exchange still grew to 433,947 because of people signing up for Medicaid.

About 264 people canceled their private plans in the last month because of special circumstances and a total of 78,666 are now covered through those plans.

The state exchange also lost Medicaid recipients who no longer qualified for the program, but gained more than it lost. About 355,281 people gained coverage through Medicaid, a net gain of 22,777 since last month.

The exchange currently is only open for enrollment in private plans to people who have a family or employment change. The next open enrollment begins Nov. 15.

Exchange officials continue to develop a new website to replace the dysfunctional enrollment site for public and private plans, and get the word out that those in private plans must re-enroll in the fall to keep the federal subsidies they were afforded. If they don't, they will be placed in a similar plan, if one exists, but not receive subsidies.

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