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Open enrollment for Obamacare plans begins today in Maryland

Open enrollment begins today on the Maryland health insurance exchange and will last two weeks into the new year, with subsidies continuing to be available for most people.

It’s been a decade since the Affordable Care Act allowed people to buy their own health insurance through the online marketplaces run by states or the federal government. Enrollment in Maryland through MarylandHealthConnection.gov has grown over time, with many more people accessing the insurance during special sign-up periods during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Exchange officials hope the trend continues by touting care for sudden medical needs.

“Many of the savings available in 2022 have been extended into 2023, resulting in free and low-cost plans,” said Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, in a statement. “Accidents happen. You never know when you might need emergency care or a visit to a doctor or specialist. With health insurance, you’re covered for when the unexpected happens.”

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The extra federal subsidies were extended through the federal Inflation Reduction Act and are in addition to other subsidies for young adults. The rates also have been reduced through a state reinsurance program that helps insurers cover the cost of their most expensive beneficiaries.

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Plans begin Jan. 1 for those enrolled by year’s end and Feb. 1 for those enrolled in the first two weeks of January. Those enrolling in Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance plan for low-income residents is year-round.

Participants can get help enrolling online at MarylandHealthConnection.gov/help or through an exchange broker by calling 855-642-8572.

People can buy directly from an insurer if they do not receive subsidies, though most people qualify and the costs have gone up this year due to inflation and the pandemic.

Those who buy their policies from the three carriers offering individual plans — known as Obamacare — will pay an average of 6.6% more, though less than the carriers requested earlier this year, state insurance officials reported.

About 232,000 people bought plans through the exchange or directly from an insurance company this year, most of whom aren’t offered policies through their employers.

Insurance officials have reported that rates for a 40-year-old Baltimore area resident with the lowest cost silver CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield HMO plan would rise to about $335 a month. This plan currently covers the most Marylanders.

Premiums for those silver plans would go up to about $513 for those enrolled in CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield’s PPO plan, they’d rise to about $350 for those in the United Healthcare HMO plan, and reach about $268 for those in the Kaiser Permanente HMO plan.


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