Citing Pandemic, Maryland Re-Opens Special Health Insurance Enrollment Period

    Citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) announced Monday that the state’s special health insurance enrollment period will be reopened in January and extended through mid-March 2021.

    “I am pleased to announce this new special open enrollment period, in addition to last year’s COVID-19 special enrollment, which saw record enrollment as one of the longest periods in the country,” Hogan said in a statement.

    At the onset of the pandemic last March, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange reopened its enrollment period, which remained open through Dec. 15, 2020.

    During that time, approximately 107,000 people became insured: 35,000 through private plans and 72,000 via Medicaid.

    “We are encouraged by the overwhelming response during the last special enrollment period,” Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, said in a statement. “As the pandemic continues and job loss remains an acute consequence, we are working to make health coverage accessible to all and to support the diverse communities in Maryland.”

    Eligible residents who did not participate in the state’s extended special enrollment period in 2020 may now opt-in to Medicaid or private health coverage plans through the Maryland Health Connection.

    The 2021 special enrollment period is open from Jan. 4 through March 15. Those who apply between Jan. 4 and Jan. 15 will begin to receive coverage effective Jan. 1; coverage starts Feb. 1 for people who enroll between Jan. 16 and Feb. 15; and coverage for residents who enroll between Feb. 16 and March 15 will go into effect on March 1.

    “This additional special enrollment period is another way we are helping Marylanders weather the pandemic and come back stronger and healthier in the new year,” Hogan said.

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    Hannah Gaskill
    Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.