Maryland Health Insurance Exchange Guide

March 28, 2013

Starting in 2014, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance coverage for individuals and small businesses will become available through new state health insurance marketplaces.

Maryland Health Insurance Marketplace

Maryland will offer a state-based exchange called Maryland Health Connection (www.marylandhealthconnection.gov).

The exchange is managed by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) and will open in October 2013, for coverage starting in January 2014.

What is the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange?

According to the MHBE, the goal of the exchange is to "make health insurance affordable and accessible for all Maryland residents, including the approximately 730,000 or 14 percent of Maryland’s 5.8 million residents who are currently uninsured."

Maryland Health Connection is working with health insurance carriers, insurance producers, assisters and advocates. Maryland Health Connection will be supported by a call center and in-person assistance will be available statewide by individuals known as “navigators.”

How was the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange Formed?

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) is a public corporation and independent unit of the Maryland State government.  The exchange was established in April 2011 in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Exchange has a nine member Board of Trustees that includes the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland Insurance Commissioner and Executive Director of Maryland Health Care Commission. MHBE is responsible for the administration of Maryland Health Connection.  On December 7, 2012, Maryland received conditional approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a state-based exchange and is expected to receive final approval from HHS.

What will Maryland Health Connection Look Like and How Will it Work?

Maryland Health Connection will be Maryland's marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses to compare and enroll in health insurance, as well as determine eligibility for Medicaid and other assistance programs, federal tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. Enrollment through Maryland Health Connection is scheduled to begin in October 2013, with insurance coverage beginning January 1, 2014. 

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How Will Maryland Health Connection Work with Brokers?

According to MHBE's website, producers who are authorized to sell Maryland Health Connection products will be able to present these offerings to individuals and small businesses in Maryland.

Producers will receive compensation from carriers for sales of insurance plans offered on Maryland Health Connection.  As producers assist individuals and small businesses with enrollment in Maryland Health Connection insurance plans, the exchange will pass producer data to carriers to allow them to calculate and distribute compensation as they do today.

Only producers who have received authorization can sell Maryland Health Connection Plans. The MHBE will begin to offer training sessions for producers in June 2013 to ensure preparation for open enrollment which begins October 1, 2013.

For more information on the Maryland Health Connection Program see: http://marylandhbe.com/exchange-partners/brokers/.

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