Healthcare navigators, dressed in lime green, help people seeking health insurance at Healthcare Access Maryland's open enrollment fair.
Healthcare navigators, dressed in lime green, help people seeking health insurance at Healthcare Access Maryland's open enrollment fair. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun)

Almost 52,000 people have enrolled in health plans on the state's online insurance marketplace, which launched Nov. 15, exchange officials reported Friday.

As of Dec. 4, 29,543 signed up for private plans on the exchange, created under the federal Affordable Care Act to cover people who do not get their insurance from employers. Another 22,253 enrolled in Medicaid through the exchange by phone, in person or at marylandhealthconnection.gov.

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Open enrollment lasts until Feb. 15, but those who need insurance Jan. 1 must enroll by Dec. 18. And everyone who enrolled in private plans last year must re-enroll to keep federal subsidies.

Exchange officials report that the most people have enrolled in Montgomery County, 11,964; followed by Prince George's, 7,075; and Baltimore, 6,852. In Baltimore City, 4,783 have enrolled.

People can enroll in Medicaid year-round, but must be determined eligible annually. State officials, who chose to expand the federal-state health program for the poor, report a net increase of 174,841 enrollees in the past year for a total of more than 1.2 million.

The federal exchange, which serves as the online insurance portal for 36 states, reported recently that more than 765,000 people had chosen plans and 48 percent were people who did not buy plans last year through the exchange.

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