ANNAPOLIS, MD—Yesterday marked one year since the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange launched a Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period in response to the public health emergency declared by Governor Larry Hogan.

Some 140,715 Marylanders have gained health insurance through special enrollment. Many Marylanders who lacked coverage were able to enroll in private health plans outside the typical open enrollment period held each fall through the state-based marketplace, Maryland Health Connection.

“We are pleased to announce the tremendous response to this special enrollment period, which is one of the nation’s longest in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Hogan. “This program’s success is a testament to our commitment to ensure Marylanders have access to the resources they need to weather the pandemic and come back stronger and healthier.”

“We’re happy that thousands were able to get coverage and peace of mind for themselves and their families during this difficult time,” said Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. “We’re also thankful for the support and cooperation from the Maryland Insurance Administration, the Maryland Department of Health, and our partner insurance companies CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealthcare.”

An estimated 236,000 Marylanders who remain without health coverage would be able to get coverage for free or with significant financial help, in many cases worth hundreds of dollars a month, according to Maryland Health Benefit Exchange analysis.

The Coronavirus Special Enrollment is currently scheduled to run through May 15.

People eligible for Medicaid can enroll year-round. Others will still be able to enroll in private coverage through Maryland Health Connection if they recently lost coverage through a life change event such as job loss or divorce. 

Of the 140,715 who have enrolled since March 16, 2020, 92,327 qualified for free Medicaid coverage. The other 48,388 enrolled in private coverage. About 70% of them—33,988— received financial help to lower their out-of-pocket costs.

Additionally, 43,095 of the enrollees self-identified as Black or African-American. Another 17,466 enrollees self-identified as Hispanic, and 49,912 were young adults between 18 and 34 years old.

Maryland Coronavirus Special Enrollment since March 16, 2020
Statewide140,715
Allegany941
Anne Arundel10,921
Baltimore County19,596
Baltimore City14,912
Calvert1,423
Caroline620
Carroll2,278
Cecil1,831
Charles3,579
Dorchester642
Frederick4,829
Garrett516
Harford4,406
Howard6,293
Kent296
Montgomery26,874
Prince George’s30,177
Queen Anne’s891
St. Mary’s1,450
Somerset610
Talbot670
Washington3,131
Wicomico2,535
Worcester1,291
Other3

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