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Md. exchange enrollment up for 2015; percentage of uninsured drops

Daniel Leaderman//August 18, 2015

Md. exchange enrollment up for 2015; percentage of uninsured drops

By Daniel Leaderman

//August 18, 2015

More than 606,000 people have used Maryland’s health insurance marketplace to enroll in coverage for 2015, up nearly 39 percent from last year, state health officials announced Tuesday.

Since the open-enrollment period for the current year began Nov. 15, 482,553 people, or about 80 percent of the total enrollment, have signed up for Medicaid using the Maryland Health Connection, while 123,673 enrolled in private health plans.

Those figures reflect the same approximate split seen during the first enrollment period, which lasted from Oct. 1, 2013 to Aug. 23, 2014. During that time, 355,281 people enrolled in Medicaid and 78,666 enrolled in private plans, according to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

About 94 percent of Marylanders who enrolled through the exchange this year have received financial assistance.

This year’s enrollment figures continue to reflect the expansion of Medicaid due to the federal Affordable Care Act, said Andrew Ratner, spokesman for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

Overall, net Medicaid enrollment has increased by 234,285 people since the end of 2013, according to the exchange.

Officials noted that a recent Gallup survey, released earlier this month, shows that the number of people in Maryland without health insurance has dropped in the past two years.

In 2013, 12.9 percent of state residents did not have health insurance; by mid-2015, that number had dropped to 7 percent, according to the national Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which surveyed a sample of residents from each state.

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange will continue reaching out to the remaining uninsured in the state, and the organization’s board approved Tuesday a $1.3 million contract with the Washington, D.C.- and Seattle-based marketing firm GMMB for the remaining 10 months of the fiscal year, Ratner said.

In addition to the uninsured, exchange officials want to improve their outreach to the African-American and Hispanic communities as well as to the so-called “young invincibles,” people in their 20s and 30s who tend to go without health coverage, Ratner said.




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