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Maryland health exchange opens early

Maryland’s health exchange is now open to the public – a day earlier than announced.

Officials used social media channels Tuesday morning to publicize that the exchange website,, is ready for users to log on and actually enroll in coverage.

Spokesman Andrew Ratner confirmed that although the exchange homepage states that open enrollment begins Wednesday, the system will in fact allow people to enroll.

Under the planned schedule, the site wasn’t supposed to open for public enrollment until Wednesday, although the “window shopping” function — the ability to browse but not buy plans — has been available to consumers since Nov. 9.

On Saturday, officials held an enrollment fair for people who wanted help enrolling in-person. And over the past two days, certain health groups were given access to the site to help consumers enroll. Local health departments, brokers or specially trained “navigators” were allowed to process enrollments.

As of last night, about 1,000 people had successfully submitted applications for coverage through those methods, Ratner said.

“Our message is still that enrollment starts the 19th, but we figured that since things have been working so well, we were confident that we could go ahead and [open the site to the public],” Ratner said.

About Alissa Gulin

Alissa Gulin covers health care, education and general business at The Daily Record.