Flu season in Baltimore has come early this time, and hospitals are overloaded across the country. Which also brings an early reminder of the importance of health coverage? The Maryland Heath Connection is hosting the Health Care Open Enrollment to remind people of Baltimore to enroll them for affordable health care.
With the death toll rising among flu patients, Maryland Health Connection has decided to cut through the confusion and offer its services to the Baltimore people for free as the deadline for the enrollment approaches. The official date set for the enrollment was December 15th, but state officials extended the deadline to December 22nd, giving Marylanders an additional seven days to sign up.
The extension gave Maryland Heath Connection a chance to accommodate procrastinators and avoid last-minute enrollment pressures on the staff by the end of the week.
Vincent DeMarco from Maryland Health Care says, “We are the Maryland Health Care For All Coalition have heard the stories of people whose lives have been saved, who have been made much healthier and their finances in much better shape because of the Affordable Care Act.”
An ongoing debate is currently taking place in Washington regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act. However, Health Care officials strongly urge Marylanders to take advantage of the extension and join the program that offers one-on-one assistance to them at 18 locations around Washington.
All details are available on the Maryland Health Connection website Marylandhealthconnection.gov.
The website includes information regarding time and location of these enrollments and provides Marylanders with a checklist that they need to bring along.
The checklist includes; birth dates, social security number, immigrant documents (if any), photo id, information regarding income – such as tax returns and any pay stubs, policy umbers for any health care coverage that they have.
“The 8th and the 9th is a critical weekend for getting in and beating the rush,” she says. “We don’t want you to wait in long lines or be on the phones for a long time. Look at your local libraries, many of the events are occurring at your local libraries” – says, Michele Eberle from Maryland Heath Connection Benefit exchange.
Regarding the extension, Eberle said, “There is a strong indication that we are going to have a lot of folks coming back for renewal and a lot of new folks who heard about what’s going on. Once again we’re hearing from consumers how important having health coverage is to them. … They’re grateful to have insurance.”
Compared to last year there has been an increase of 10,000 people who have enrolled themselves in private health plans in 2017. Many have signed up with insurance, and about 290,000 have enrolled in the federal-state health plan in Medicaid which is designed for low-income residents.
There is by all accounts little perplexity, yet some tension about moves made in Washington to unravel the health law and policies being set by the Trump administration. According to Eberle, this may demonstrate a level of comfort in the programs fifth open enrollment period.
Michael Bush, a House speaker, revealed that 95% of Marylanders have some kind of health coverage since the ACA begins. She says, “It’s very important for as many people signed up as they possibly can.”