Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Editorial: Last call on Obamacare

For the thousands of Marylanders and Carroll residents who are eligible to purchase insurance through the Maryland Health Connection, despite the lack of advertising in recent weeks, Obamacare isn't dead yet. The deadline to enroll, however, is today, Jan. 31. So if you planned to have coverage in 2017, the clock is ticking to sign up if you haven't already.

Though President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress made clear their intent to repeal what is officially known as the Affordable Care Act, with no clear replacement plan, it remains in place for now. You may not have been aware that you could still sign up, however, because the Trump administration ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to cease any advertising or other outreach efforts for the final few days prior to the deadline — when enrollment is typically at its highest.


In Maryland, at least, residents have continued to sign up at an increasing rate. A spokesman for the Maryland Health Connection said call volume was up and the mobile enrollment app was downloaded 70,000 times, more than triple the estimate for this enrollment season.

Carroll County likely isn't thought of as politically supportive of Obamacare, but it nevertheless had the largest enrollment growth of any Maryland county this past year, up 6 percent in private health insurance plans from a year ago. That's nearly 3,700 residents who enrolled through Jan. 23 for 2017.


And while the county has about a 4 percent uninsured rate, far lower than the state of Maryland as a whole, that translates to an estimated 8,500 uninsured county residents who were eligible to purchase either a private insurance plan or qualify for Medicaid heading into the 2017 open enrollment period.

People not insured through an employer can shop for plans, see if they qualify for Medicaid or tax subsidies for purchasing insurance and enroll by visiting or by calling 855-642-8572.

Individuals earning less than $47,520 may be eligible for a tax credit for purchasing a private insurance plan through the Maryland Health Connection, according to the website, while a family of four may be eligible for a tax credit if making up to $97,200 in annual income. An individual earning up to $16,394, or a family of four earning up to $51,273, may be eligible for state Medicaid coverage

Anyone who signs up before enrollment closes is expected to have coverage through at least 2017, even if Obamacare is repealed before the year is over. If you've been thinking of signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act before or need to re-enroll, but haven't because you were unsure of its future, there's still time, but you need to act quickly.