Maryland Health Insurance Exchange
How "the Maryland Health Connection", The Official Maryland Website for Health Insurance, Works
The Maryland Health Insurance Exchange, the Maryland Health Connection, is the official Maryland State marketplace for health insurance under Obamacare. You can use the Maryland Health Connection to apply for cost-assistance, compare prices of plans and enroll in a plan that best suits you, your family or your small business. Let's do a quick overview of how Maryland's health insurance exchange works and what you need to know before shopping on your State's Marketplace.
• Coverage purchased before the 15th starts on the first of the month following the next month. For example you have to enroll in coverage that starts before March 15th to get coverd by May 1st.
• If you are covered by May 1st you are exempt from the fee.
• Open enrollment ended March 31, 2014. If you didn't obtain coverage by March 31 you won't be able to use the marketplace until November 15, 2014 without qualifying for a special enrollment period.
• Not everyone who doesn't have insurance will be charged a fee or will get cost assistance. How much you pay depends on what you make.
• All health insurance sold on official ObamaCare websites must offer all the new benefits, rights and protections of the Affordable Care Act.
• "the Maryland Health Connection" is your State's official ObamaCare website for Maryland. Visit the Maryland Health Connection now to apply.
Maryland Insurance Exchange Subsides and Tax Credits
You can use the the Maryland Health Connection website to apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll. When applying for a plan on the marketplace you'll find out if you are eligible for subsidies which can lower what you pay for premiums and lower the out-of-pocket costs you are responsible for.
ObamaCare subsidizes those with incomes ranging from 139% to 400% of the FLP (federal poverty level) and helps to make Medicaid and CHIP available for those below the 139% mark. in 2013 400% FPL is $45,960 for single person, $62,040 for a family of two, and $78,120 for a family of three. Subsidies are given as refundable tax credits. Subsidies are given as refundable tax credits.
Learn more about ObamaCare Subsidies.
Applying for Subsidies, Tax Credits and Cost Assistance on the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange
In order to get subsidies all you need to do is sign up with the insurance exchange. Once you input your families information and your tax information the system will automatically calculate your subsidies. Since subsidies are reflected as tax credits your cost assistance will not be set in stone until the end of the year. Keep this in mind as you may lose or gain cost assistance as your income fluctuates throughout the year.
Applying for ObamaCare in Maryland
Make sure you have the following information about your and your family before visiting the Maryland Health Connection, your State's official Health Insurance Marketplace.
• Last years tax information for you and your family.
• Projected incomes for this year.
• Medical history - ObamaCare does away with pre-existing conditions and gender discrimination so these factors will no longer affect the cost of your insurance. Smoking, family size and age may still affect your affect cost.
• Social Security Numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants).
• Employer and income information for every member of your household who needs coverage (for example, from pay stubs or W-2 forms—Wage and Tax Statements).
• Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your household.
• A completed Employer Coverage Tool for every job-based plan you or someone in your household is eligible for. (You'll need to fill out this form even for coverage you're eligible for but don't enroll in.)
• Any other important information that could affect your health insurance premium or coverage options. Better safe than sorry!
Here is an example of the health insurance exchange application form for individuals.
Here is an example of the health insurance exchange application form for families.
Qualifying for Medicaid Expansion
If you make under 139% of the Federal Poverty Level you may qualify for Medicaid under Maryland's Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare. You can apply for Medicaid using the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange.
Choosing the Right Health Insurance Plan
There are a number of different tiers of plans available on the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange. Plans range from bare bones "bronze" plans which cover 60% of pocket medical costs to "platinum" plans which have greater coverage but come with higher premiums. In general higher premiums mean lower out-of-pocket costs and a wider insurer network of doctors and hospitals.The plans are as listed below:
NOTE: All cost sharing is of out of pocket costs. Please see ObamaCare health benefits for services that are covered at no out of pocket charge on all plans.
Bronze Plan: The bronze plan is the lowest cost plan available. It has the lowest premiums and in exchange has the lowest actuarial value. The actuarial value of a bronze plan is 60%. This means that 60% of medical costs are paid for by the insurance company, leaving the other 40% to be paid by you.
Silver Plan: The Silver plan is the second lowest cost plan, it has an actuarial value of 70%. This means that 70% of medical costs are paid for by the insurance company, leaving the other 30% to be paid by you. The Silver plan is the standard choice for most reasonably healthy families who historically use medical services.
Gold Plan: The Gold plan is the second most expensive plan, it has an actuarial value of 80%. This means that 80% of medical costs are paid for by the insurance company, leaving the other 20% to be paid by you.
Platinum Plan: The Platinum plan is the plan with the highest premiums offered on the Maryland insurance exchange. The Platinum plan as an actuarial value of 90%. This means that 90% of medical costs are paid for by the insurance company, leaving the other 10% to be paid by you. This plan is suggested to those with high incomes and those in poor health. Although coverage is more expensive up front the 90% coverage of costs will help those who use medical services frequently.
Maryland health insurers don't have to offer every tier of plan, but within the Maryland health insurance Exchanges, all health insurance companies must offer at least one silver plan and one gold plan to consumers.
Learn more about Health Plan Types.
Maryland Insurance Exchange: Factors that Affect Rates
ObamaCare does away with pre-existing conditions and gender discrimination so these factors will no longer affect the cost of your insurance. Please be aware location, income, smoking status, family size and age all affect the cost of your health insurance premium. So the cost of any their of plan will fluctuate from person to person and from family to family. Please keep this in mind when shopping for insurance on the Maryland health insurance exchange.
Choosing a Health Care Plan: How to Calculate the Cost of Health Insurance
To get started you'll want to figure out what your budget is for health care this year. Affordable health insurance is defined as 8% of your income. Take your income for last year and find out if you can afford to pay 8%, if not find a number that you feel you can pay. Now that you have an idea of what you can afford, it's time to take a look at the cost calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation to get an idea of what you will pay on the Maryland health insurance exchange. This will give you an estimate of what you and your family will pay. Keep in mind that health, age and other factors can increase or decrease the cost of your insurance.
How to Get Started Using the Insurance Exchanges
If you live in Maryland, the Maryland Health Connection is the Health Insurance Marketplace to serve you. Instead of HealthCare. gov, you’ll use the the Maryland Health Connection website to apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll. Visit the Maryland Health Connection now to apply.
The Maryland health insurance marketplace is open until March 31st, 2014. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter for updates. As we learn more about the exchanges we are updating our site with the latest information on how to use ObamaCare's official State Marketplaces.