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Maryland Health Benefit Exchange

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NEWS
November 9, 2013
Just how cost-effective is the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange ( "Md. health exchange working better, but glitches remain," Oct. 29)? How many employees work there, and what are the average annual salaries? What is the annual cost of operations? How much is coming from Maryland and how much is coming from the federal government? And, once we know how many millions is costing each year, is it cost effective, i.e., how much does it cost for each previously uninsured Marylander who gets coverage through the exchange?
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
By Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | September 25, 2014
Republican Larry Hogan urged state and federal investigators Thursday to probe the possible connection between large political donations to the Democratic Governors Association and the award of Maryland state contracts to donors. Hogan, the GOP nominee for governor, also called on federal investigators to widen their audit of Maryland's health exchange to examine whether state tax dollars were misspent on the faulty online insurance marketplace. He convened a news conference Thursday to allege what he called a pattern of "suspicious" donations and suggest that his opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, might be the beneficiary.
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NEWS
March 29, 2013
We want to thank reporter John Fritze for his article laying out the issue of out-of-pocket costs for child dental care insurance through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange ("Advocates, insurers duel over cost of child dental coverage," March 21). The new rules by the Obama administration perhaps unintentionally eliminate the general principle of the Affordable Care Act that dental care is an essential health benefit for children. The new rule will permit pediatric dental insurance plans to charge a maximum of $1,000 per child in out-of-pocket costs and up to $2,000 for a family.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, Andrea K. Walker and Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | July 30, 2014
Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein said Wednesday he plans to leave his post as secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where he drew criticism for the botched rollout of the state's health insurance exchange website. Sharfstein, a trained pediatrician who has spent his career in public service, will join the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as an associate dean in January as the O'Malley administration ends. He took the state post three years ago after developing a national profile for his aggressive pursuit of public health initiatives in children's health, HIV and other areas.
HEALTH
By Scott Dance and Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | March 27, 2013
The Maryland Senate voted Wednesday to pass a bill that would qualify more Marylanders for government health care and pay for a new health insurance marketplace, both part of advancing the rollout of federal health reform. The House of Delegates approved an identical bill Monday, clearing the way for the legislation to make its way to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his signature. Initiatives in the bill spell out changes in the way poor or uninsured residents and small businesses would access health care once the federal law becomes effective next year.
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker | May 28, 2013
Thirteen insurers have submitted plans to offer health insurance on the state exchange, or marketplace where individuals can buy insurance under health care reform, that begins open enrollment in October. The plans must still be certified by the state. Officials with the state Maryland Health Benefit Exchange announced the insurers Monday.  Health reform requires that everyone carry insurance through an employer, a government-sponsored plan such as Medicare or statewide exchanges.
NEWS
By Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | September 25, 2014
Republican Larry Hogan urged state and federal investigators Thursday to probe the possible connection between large political donations to the Democratic Governors Association and the award of Maryland state contracts to donors. Hogan, the GOP nominee for governor, also called on federal investigators to widen their audit of Maryland's health exchange to examine whether state tax dollars were misspent on the faulty online insurance marketplace. He convened a news conference Thursday to allege what he called a pattern of "suspicious" donations and suggest that his opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, might be the beneficiary.
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | March 28, 2014
Gov. Martin O'Malley urged uninsured people Friday to sign up for health coverage as soon as possible to beat Monday's deadline. Despite the ongoing technical problems with Maryland's health care exchange, O'Malley said the state has already seen a huge surge in enrollments over the past week. "It's not a drive-through McDonald's by any means," O'Malley said, cautioning that there are delays due to heavy traffic, but that the system is working better than it has in the past. "We're actually moving a lot of people," he said.  The governor said more people signed up for private insurance through the exchange in the past week than in the first 10 weeks after the exchange went live in October.
HEALTH
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | August 23, 2013
Much of the attention over what changes federal health reform will bring has focused on doctor visits and hospital stays. But what about dental care? Tequila Terry, director of plan and partner management for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, addresses what is coming when the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, becomes effective Jan. 1. How will access to dental care change under health reform? The Affordable Care Act created a concept called essential health benefits, and that requires certain categories of health care to be included in all plans offered to consumers.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn and Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | July 15, 2014
Coding problems that led to coverage and billing troubles for thousands of consumers using Connecticut's online insurance marketplace will be fixed in Maryland's version of the technology, officials said today. Maryland officials had been preparing to use the technology underlying the Connecticut exchange after ditching their own glitch-prone software. They still expect the new Maryland Health Benefit Exchange website to be operating smoothly in November, when the next round of consumers will be allowed to buy health coverage.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn and Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | July 15, 2014
Coding problems that led to coverage and billing troubles for thousands of consumers using Connecticut's online insurance marketplace will be fixed in Maryland's version of the technology, officials said today. Maryland officials had been preparing to use the technology underlying the Connecticut exchange after ditching their own glitch-prone software. They still expect the new Maryland Health Benefit Exchange website to be operating smoothly in November, when the next round of consumers will be allowed to buy health coverage.
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | March 28, 2014
Gov. Martin O'Malley urged uninsured people Friday to sign up for health coverage as soon as possible to beat Monday's deadline. Despite the ongoing technical problems with Maryland's health care exchange, O'Malley said the state has already seen a huge surge in enrollments over the past week. "It's not a drive-through McDonald's by any means," O'Malley said, cautioning that there are delays due to heavy traffic, but that the system is working better than it has in the past. "We're actually moving a lot of people," he said.  The governor said more people signed up for private insurance through the exchange in the past week than in the first 10 weeks after the exchange went live in October.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | March 18, 2014
Edward Brown heard a radio ad recently and realized the clock was ticking: If he wanted health insurance, the Baltimore truck driver needed to find time to sign up before the end of March. He found his way to the downtown offices of HealthCare Access Maryland, which employs "navigators" to help people sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. "It's comforting," said Brown, as navigator Athena Lynch typed in his information to create an account on the Maryland health exchange website.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | March 13, 2014
Maryland will likely dump all or part of the state's health insurance exchange website and adopt Connecticut's system, a move that could make it the first state to abandon a dysfunctional site. Officials with Maryland's exchange plan to turn to the "Connecticut solution," which was developed largely by Deloitte Consulting LLC and considered among the most successful in enrolling consumers in private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, said two sources with knowledge of the situation.
NEWS
By Tracy Orwig | March 11, 2014
Health insurers in Maryland and throughout the country are jeopardizing patient health by dramatically and arbitrarily increasing the cost of vital medications. As insurers increasingly assign cancer treatments to so-called "specialty tier" cost structures, patients battling blood cancers and many other serious conditions are forced to pay prohibitively high out-of-pocket costs for their treatment, which causes many patients to go without treatment entirely. Rather than paying a standard copayment for medication, people whose medications are moved to specialty tiers - which include the newest, most effective and expensive medications - can find themselves paying coinsurance of up to 40 percent of the total cost of the drugs.
HEALTH
By Matthew Hay Brown and Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | January 21, 2014
With a deadline Tuesday for uninsured Marylanders to secure health coverage retroactive to Jan. 1, would-be enrollees continued to report frustration with the state's troubled health exchange. Matthew Silverglate, a 29-year-old server and bartender from Ellicott City, said Monday he had been calling and logging on to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange for two months, and still had not been able to price out a private health plan. Dr. Peter Beilenson, who heads an insurance cooperative that sells coverage on the exchange, said he made four separate calls last week, using four different names, to try to get an appointment with a plan navigator.
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | October 4, 2013
Technical problems continued to frustrate people attempting to access the new state health insurance exchange on Friday The issues with marylandhealthconnection.gov, the online exchange set up under national health reform, prompted some analysts to suggest that the system's software and servers aren't robust enough. "They seem to be building this system on the go," said Robert Laszewski, a Washington-based insurance industry consultant. "It was not adequately tested, and it was not ready for prime time.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | March 13, 2014
Maryland will likely dump all or part of the state's health insurance exchange website and adopt Connecticut's system, a move that could make it the first state to abandon a dysfunctional site. Officials with Maryland's exchange plan to turn to the "Connecticut solution," which was developed largely by Deloitte Consulting LLC and considered among the most successful in enrolling consumers in private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, said two sources with knowledge of the situation.
NEWS
December 11, 2013
If Maryland's bolloxed rollout of Obamacare has taught us anything, it is the failure of technocracy - especially the snake oil the O'Malley administration has been selling since 2006.  The idea that they are a results-oriented, data driven lot  - you know better choices, better results … or something. According to an investigation by Sun reporters Meredith Cohn and Andrea Walker, Maryland's Obamacare exchange website, the Maryland Health Connection, was plagued by all manner of problems both before and after its October launch.  Problems included among other issues, technical glitches and feuding contractors.  Upon launch the website crashed often as many users were not able to access the site, and Maryland has posted lower enrollment numbers compared to other state-run exchanges.
HEALTH
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | December 6, 2013
As lawmakers grilled Maryland's health secretary last week on why the state's troubled health exchange was still broken, the official in charge of it was on vacation in the Cayman Islands. Rebecca Pearce, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, took a seven-day trip to the Caribbean isle with her family and could not be reached by phone, email or text, officials confirmed Friday. She was away while lawmakers in Annapolis were pressing for answers on why the $70 million online insurance marketplace was beset by technical glitches two months after it launched and why enrollment continued to lag far behind other states.
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