Maryland Reopens Insurance Enrollment as Coronavirus Spreads
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- As the coronavirus outbreak worsens, Maryland has reopened its health insurance exchange to boost coverage and expand treatment for the uninsured. The state joins Washington and Massachusetts in offering a special sign-up period while the pandemic continues.
During this crisis, it's essential that all uninsured people get coverage, according to Stephanie Klapper, deputy director at Maryland Health Care for All. She pointed out that a lot of folks without health insurance end up getting treated in emergency rooms, which could create chaos in the middle of a pandemic.
"It's the most expensive place to get health care," Klapper said. "But also, in a public health crisis like this, the emergency rooms could be overwhelmed by too many people needing health care at the same time."
As of Monday, Maryland announced the number of confirmed cases was up to 37.
Signup for the state's health exchange is available until April 15. For more information, visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov.
Twelve states and the District of Columbia operate their own health insurance plans, which Klapper said gives state lawmakers the authority to reopen enrollment in the face of an emergency such as the coronavirus. She said Maryland is the first state in the nation to also have what's called an Easy Enrollment program, which is linked through state tax forms.
"Already 18,000 Marylanders have checked a box on their state tax return to find out their health insurance options and learn how to take the next steps to enroll in coverage," she said. "That program is also still operational."
Klapper said she hopes the federal government will follow Maryland's lead and establish a special enrollment period for the federal Affordable Care Act. Congress has been urging Health and Human Services to deal with this public health crisis by opening enrollment for the 38 states that rely on the federal exchange, but no action has been taken so far.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages everyone to clean out …
Health and Wellness
BALTIMORE - This month marks the four-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, and an art project aims to help incarcerated survivors heal by telling …
OGDEN, Utah - Utah is one of only a handful of states that taxes food, but one state legislator says taxing groceries should become a thing of the …
CASPER, Wyo. - A strong majority of voters across party lines say they want national rules similar to those passed in Wyoming to reduce methane …
BISMARCK, N.D. - A portion of American Rescue Plan funding sent to North Dakota has yet to be divvied up. Groups that want to improve the child-care …
PITTSBURGH - As businesses across the country deal with a massive labor shortage, Pennsylvania aims to entice people back to the workplace by …
ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmental groups want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that mandates monitoring the state's drinking water for "emerging …
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Mike Parson is facing calls to get the Missouri Cybersecurity Commission off the ground after it was created by the …