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Be thankful for the Maryland Health Connection this year | COMMENTARY

The home page of Maryland Health Connection, where residents can go to buy health insurance under Obamacare.
The home page of Maryland Health Connection, where residents can go to buy health insurance under Obamacare. (Handout/The Baltimore Sun)

When I sit down at the Thanksgiving table this year, I will have much to be grateful for. Yes, even in the midst of a pandemic. Of course, this includes my personal and work family, for their health and continued safety.

But most of all, I am grateful for everyone who has worked tirelessly to protect the health of our state. This includes health care workers on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, essential workers who have helped keep our families safe and comfortable, and the public servants who have made sure our state keeps running.

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I am particularly grateful for health insurance navigators and application counselors who have gone above and beyond — and online — to connect Marylanders to health coverage during this critical time. Since March, they have helped more than 9,700 Marylanders get covered. And I appreciate the rest of our dedicated army of people including 660 insurance producers around the state, who have the knowledge to make a complicated process simple.

I know how important it is for Marylanders to be able to see a doctor, get emergency care and get their medications. Maryland Health Connection continues to offer one of the longest special enrollment periods in the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that if you need health insurance, we’re here to help you get covered today.

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On Nov. 1 we also kicked off the annual open enrollment period. From now through Dec. 15, Marylanders can enroll in health insurance for the 2021 plan year. Even if you have looked before, I encourage you to come back to MarylandHealthConnection.gov and check out your options. Your eligibility for financial help may have changed if your income or employment status has changed. In fact, 9 out of 10 Marylanders who enrolled through Maryland Health Connection last year got financial help to pay for their plan. And, for the third year in a row, health plan rates have gone down for most Marylanders.

If you need help, our navigators and brokers are ready to walk you through the process from the safety and comfort of your home.

I know this has been a difficult year. But Maryland Health Connection is with you every step of the way. We are so inspired by the resilience Marylanders have shown, and we are committed to doing everything we can to connect more Marylanders to health coverage. While 2020 has brought many challenges, I will always be grateful to be a Marylander and face these challenges together.

Michele Eberle, Annapolis

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

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