A record number of Maryland residents signed up for health insurance using the state’s Obamacare health portal during this year’s enrollment period.
More than 166,000 people obtained coverage through Maryland Health Connection between in the 45-day sign-up window that ended on Dec. 15, an increase of 4.5% from 2020.
Three-quarters of those who purchased private health coverage were able to reduce their premiums through the use of federal tax credits, according to a statistics from the Hogan administration.
The increase was fueled by consumers who didn’t have health coverage before or who lost their employer-provided coverage when they were laid off.
“I am pleased to see so many Marylanders taking advantage of our state’s impressive health insurance marketplace, especially as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic, ” Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said in a statement. “With one of the longest COVID-19 special enrollment periods in the country, we continue to work to increase healthcare access and affordability in Maryland.”
The biggest increases were in Queen Anne’s (14.9%), Frederick (10.6%) and Somerset (9.9%) counties. Enrollment increased in all 23 counties and Baltimore City.
One-third of those enrollments — nearly 33,000 — were in private insurance. The remaining two-thirds, nearly 70,000, enrolled in Medicaid.
Two-thirds of 2021’s enrollee’s chose CareFirst. Approximately 53,000 selected a Kaiser plan, and approximately 2,000 went with UnitedHealthCare, which only recently re-entered the Maryland market.
The state created a reinsurance program in 2018 to make health coverage more affordable. This year, when the first wave of coronavirus cases hit the state, Hogan ordered a lengthy special enrollment window to help those who lost employer-paid coverage or who had opted to go without.