Maryland Wants to Add 35,000 Residents to its Health Exchange

Cropped SingleCare logo By | April 11, 2016

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is hoping to increase enrollment by 30% in spite of an enrollment system that has faced some challenges.

In the third year of enrollment for Obamacare, Maryland is launching an aggressive and tailored ad campaign to attract 35,000 more uninsured residents to increase the total number of insured to 150,000. Given the history of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its arguably rough start, this enrollment goal may encounter some challenges.

The Uninsured

The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the exchange, with a $1 million marketing budget, is targeting the demographic groups who are the least likely to be insured and the most likely to qualify for signup. These groups include blacks, Hispanics, and 18 to 34-year-olds who don’t believe they need health insurance, also known as the “young invincibles.”

To attract these individuals, the campaign launched by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange has elements designed for specific geographic locations, media outlets, and partnerships. In an effort to attract young adults, for example, the Maryland Health Connection has employed Lionize, a Montgomery County rock band. The four-piece group is featured on a television commercial with the slogan, “Health Yeah.”

Zenitha Price writing for Afro suggests that direct connections with the community and local organizations “such as the NAACP, the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, Black Greek organizations” and programs in churches will be the most effective for promoting enrollment. Before 2013, nearly 25% of African Americans were uninsured. According to the New York Times, only 15.6% of African Americans remain uninsured, a figure that the Exchange staff hopes will continue to decline.

A Rocky History

When the Health Benefit Exchange website first launched in 2013, the system was completely overloaded and crashed, a fiasco that resulted in the resignation of then-US Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius. Though the law gave states the power to set up and manage their own exchange, in hopes of appealing to advocates of states’ rights, only fourteen did so, while others let Washington take the reins. Recently, the battle reached the Supreme Court, which will keep the exchanges, in a 6-3 vote in favor of ACA.

Regardless of its tumultuous past, the past two years’ enrollments have gone much more smoothly, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports that more than 2 million people have already enrolled as of November 28. According to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange website, as of December 1, more than 31,000 people have enrolled for private health plans, bringing the total number of insured Marylanders to 139,244, just under their goal. It remains to be seen if Maryland can reach its target of 35,000 new enrollees.

Different Solutions

A family
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While the enrollment process has become more streamlined and coverage continues to increase, confusing information and discrepancies between state-run and federally-run exchanges can make getting healthcare intimidating and stressful. Alternative solutions like SingleCare take the pain out of healthcare by simplifying how you get and pay for healthcare. SingleCare provides as-needed healthcare to those who are uninsured and underinsured, even the “young invincibles.” At no cost to join, you might as well have SingleCare on your back pocket.

Negotiating discounted rates with doctors across various specialties, SingleCare lets members get the treatment they need for up to half the cost. There are no monthly fees, no surprise bills, and you only pay for the care you receive. It’s simple solution to a complex problem.

(Main image credit: AppalachianViews/Thinkstock)