Health Insurance Claim Form
(Igor Dimovski, Getty Images iStockphoto)

The state will hold more than 20 enrollment fairs beginning Nov. 15 where consumers can sign up for insurance in-person under the Affordable Care Act.

The number of fairs is nearly quadruple of what was held during last year's enrollment period. Maryland Health Connection, the entity that oversees the state website where consumers can browse plans and buy insurance, on Monday released the name of 12 of the enrollment fairs, which are located throughout the state. (A list is available at http://www.marylandhealthconnection.gov.)

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The first 12 fairs will be held through December. At a later time, the state will announce 12 additional fairs that will be held next year. Enrollment ends Feb. 15.

The health exchange is taking a more careful approach to enrollment this year, after the website buckled under technical problems last year. The site is allowing only limited access to the public at first.

On Nov. 9, the exchange will allow consumers to window-shop for plans from five insurance companies but not buy a policy. The first chance to sign up will come Nov. 15, the official start of open enrollment, but only at an enrollment fair. A couple of days after the enrollment fair the exchange call center will open and "navigators" at community groups and health departments will be able to enroll consumers in plans. On Nov. 19, the website will be available to the general public.

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