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March 14, 2014
I have been trying to help my son sign up on the Maryland Health Care Exchange since November of last year. I have called the phone number provided on line for help but I always receive an error message, and they just tell me they are aware of the problem and to try again! Helen M. Brennan - To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com . Please include your name and contact information.
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HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn and The Baltimore Sun | September 17, 2014
A day after Maryland committed to a gradual launch of its health exchange, state officials are still working out some key details — including where the opening day sign-up will be held — but experts say it could be a way to avoid a repeat of last year's botched rollout.  Several health experts said the approach that limits enrollment in the first few days could allow Maryland to "kick the tires" on its new website. "It's a controlled way to open enrollment," said Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | October 2, 2013
Marylanders who need insurance under health reform because they don't have it through their employer or a federal plan will be able to get it from a state exchange. Maryland Insurance Commissioner Therese M. Goldsmith discusses the kinds of plans that are offered on the exchange, called Maryland Health Connection, which opened Tuesday. People shopping for health insurance can compare the specific plans at marylandhealthconnection.gov. Coverage starts in January. How many plans are offered on the individual exchange?
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | August 29, 2014
Maryland's health exchange reported Friday a decline in the number of people who were covered by private plans through the online insurance portal created by the Affordable Care Act. But the total number of people obtaining coverage through the exchange still grew to 433,947 because of people signing up for Medicaid. About 264 people canceled their private plans in the last month because of special circumstances and a total of 78,666 are now covered through those plans. The state exchange also lost Medicaid recipients who no longer qualified for the program, but gained more than it lost.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | October 9, 2013
If there is a good health insurance plan out there for Baltimore scientist Luke Goembel, it's as big a mystery as the space he studies. Goembel, a self-employed physical chemist who has worked for the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA, says he has tried to assess his options on the state's new health insurance exchange. But computer problems have prevented him from getting the user name and password he needs to gain access to the website. He and some advocates for the new marketplace — which aims to cover 800,000 uninsured Marylanders, plus the underinsured — are pressing the state to provide more information on the plans as they wait for glitches to be resolved.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | August 23, 2012
Maryland secured $123 million of federal funding to launch its health insurance exchange, the cornerstone of President Barack Obama's health care reform, state officials announced Thursday. The money will help build the marketplace, now formally called the Maryland Health Connection, where hundreds of thousands of uninsured Marylanders will buy coverage. It is expected to open by October 2013, and insurance coverage would begin the following January. "From the moment the president signed the Affordable Care Act into law, Maryland has moved forward aggressively to build our exchange in order to expand access to affordable health care options," said Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who has spearheaded the state's efforts to implement the legislation.
NEWS
July 29, 2013
Maryland regulators have released the details of the rates they have approved for the nine companies that want to sell policies on the state's new health insurance exchange as part of the Affordable Care Act, and the average rates for individuals buying coverage are expected to jump by as much as 25 percent. Another horror story about the train wreck of Obamacare? Hardly. That figure represents an apples-to-oranges comparison that says little about what health care will cost for any particular individual or family once the exchange starts selling policies this fall.
NEWS
By John Fritze and The Baltimore Sun | January 16, 2014
The Republican National Committee has filed a records request with Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration, seeking information about one of the key players invovled with the troubled rollout of the state's health insurance exchange. The national party's request seeks two perfunctory data points on enrollment before asking about Rebecca Pearce, the former director of the exchange. The letter, dated Thursday, seeks "any and all requests" Pearce made for a raise, a bonus and a severance package.
HEALTH
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | September 12, 2013
State and national experts will take questions about Maryland's health insurance exchange - which is set to begin enrolling new patients next month - at a town hall meeting at the University of Baltimore on Saturday. State-based insurance exchanges were created under the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and will allow some individuals another option to purchase coverage beginning Oct. 1. The meeting, sponsored by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Merrick School of Business, 11 W. Mount Royal Ave. john.fritze@baltsun.com twitter.com/jfritze
NEWS
April 6, 2014
The Sun purports to know that the federal government will likely pick up most of the $40 million to $50 million tab for switching over to Connecticut's health insurance exchange ( "The best bad option for Md.'s exchange," April 2). There's just one small problem with that reassuring statement: We taxpayers will be paying for Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's bungling of the Maryland's exchange whether it be through federal or state tax dollars. It is our money being wasted either way. So what's the difference, really?
HEALTH
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2014
Major health insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has asked the state to let it increase its rates in the individual marketplace by as much as 30 percent on average next year, but two competitors want to lower what they charge people who don't get coverage through an employer. The requests were released Friday by the Maryland Insurance Administration, whose officials emphasized that they could require modifications. The agency cut significantly the rate increase CareFirst had requested for this year.
NEWS
By John Fritze and The Baltimore Sun | May 13, 2014
Speaking at an event that was part fundraiser, part pep rally for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's gubernatorial campaign, former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday defended the way the state handled the troubled roll out of its health insurance exchange -- an issue Brown's critics have attempted to use against him for months. "I admire the fact that when they had problems with the health care website, like the federal government did, they fixed them," Clinton, who endorsed Brown last month, told supporters who gathered at a Potomac conference center.
NEWS
April 6, 2014
The Sun purports to know that the federal government will likely pick up most of the $40 million to $50 million tab for switching over to Connecticut's health insurance exchange ( "The best bad option for Md.'s exchange," April 2). There's just one small problem with that reassuring statement: We taxpayers will be paying for Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's bungling of the Maryland's exchange whether it be through federal or state tax dollars. It is our money being wasted either way. So what's the difference, really?
NEWS
April 1, 2014
One last round of website crashes, jammed call center lines, frustrations and delays marked the end of Maryland's first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act and ensured that the launch of the Maryland Health Connection will go down as one of the most expensive failures of governance in the state's history. A full accounting of how Maryland failed so badly while other states handled open enrollment with relative ease can't come soon enough. That said, Obamacare is not a website.
NEWS
March 14, 2014
I have been trying to help my son sign up on the Maryland Health Care Exchange since November of last year. I have called the phone number provided on line for help but I always receive an error message, and they just tell me they are aware of the problem and to try again! Helen M. Brennan - To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com . Please include your name and contact information.
NEWS
February 13, 2014
Are Republican Reps. Andy Harris of Maryland and Jack Kingston of Georgia calling for an investigation into the federal spending on Maryland's Affordable Care Act insurance exchange out of a sincere desire to make sure it works efficiently and effectively? We doubt it. And is Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown's campaign spokesman right that Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's demand for an accounting of the money spent so far on the exchange is motivated by the politics of the governor's race?
NEWS
December 11, 2013
Seems like a lot of cover-your-butt emails were involved in the launch of Maryland's version of Obamacare's health insurance exchange. I wonder if that old, time-tested method of solving problems was ever used - at any time, did anyone actually talk to the other person? By the way, are there not enough insurance brokers agents, and insurance companies themselves that are actually able to sell their own policies? Why did they allow the government to take over their sales efforts? Could this be another case of "following the money?"
NEWS
August 24, 2012
WEATHER The National Weather Service is calling for Friday to be mostly sunny in the Baltimore area, with a high near 90 and southeast winds around 6 miles per hour in the afternoon. Friday night is expected to be mostly cloudy, with a low around 72. TRAFFIC Check our traffic updates for this morning's issues as you plan your commute. FROM LAST NIGHT... Del. Dwyer admits to drinking in Arundel boating accident : Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. said Thursday that he had been drinking alcohol when a motorboat he was operating collided with another boat in the Magothy River - an accident that left six people with serious injuries.
NEWS
By John Fritze and The Baltimore Sun | January 16, 2014
The Republican National Committee has filed a records request with Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration, seeking information about one of the key players invovled with the troubled rollout of the state's health insurance exchange. The national party's request seeks two perfunctory data points on enrollment before asking about Rebecca Pearce, the former director of the exchange. The letter, dated Thursday, seeks "any and all requests" Pearce made for a raise, a bonus and a severance package.
HEALTH
Dan Rodricks | January 16, 2014
At Tuesday's legislative hearing in Annapolis, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, point man on Obamacare in Maryland, refused to say he was sorry for the disastrous and embarrassing launch of the state's health insurance website. Bad move. I can understand why Brown might have demurred. It was a Republican lawmaker who pushed him for an apology, and that's pretty annoying. The GOP long opposed national health insurance and a single-payer system. Republicans in Congress did everything possible to derail the Affordable Care Act. Having lost that fight on Capitol Hill and at the Supreme Court, they shut down the federal government in an attempt - one of 40-plus - to repeal it. Republican governors around the country have refused to collaborate on the implementation of the new law. So if you are among the many who think all Americans deserve affordable health care, when you hear some Republican express urgent concern about the failings of the Obamacare rollout - that their constituents aren't getting the coverage the law promised - the hypocrisy goes right to your spine.
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