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A new study finds big gains in living-wage jobs under Biden Infrastructure Plan; U.S. House passes major protections for LGBTQ Americans.


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A $15 minimum wage is out for now; Capitol Police on past and current threats; House passes major milestone for equality; and voting rights targeted across the nation.

Marylanders Urged to Look for Telemedicine Coverage in Open Enrollment

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Marylanders who lost health care because of pandemic job losses can sign up for coverage until Dec. 15. (Adobe stock)
Marylanders who lost health care because of pandemic job losses can sign up for coverage until Dec. 15. (Adobe stock)
November 17, 2020

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- As the Supreme Court continues deliberations over challenges to the Affordable Care Act, health care advocates are urging Marylanders to sign up during open enrollment, which lasts until December 15.

More than 6 million folks in the state have the choice to pick or change their health benefits, according to Natalie Williamson, vice president for total cost of care strategy at United Healthcare of the Mid-Atlantic, one of the insurance providers of the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange. She said folks will have to weigh different priorities this year during the pandemic, when many lost jobs and health coverage from COVID shutdowns.

"I would definitely make sure you're evaluating how the plan you're looking at for the next year covers tele-health care and the ability to receive services from home, because it's been a very important way to get care for individuals during the pandemic, and I think that will continue into the next year," Williamson said.

Nine out of 10 people who enrolled through the Maryland exchange this year received free or lower-cost coverage. Go to Marylandhealthconnection.gov to sign up.

Williamson acknowledged health care can be expensive, but many plans offer healthy lifestyle incentives such as gym membership discounts. She said pharmacy programs also have options to help you save money.

"The pharmacy portion of a health plan is the most frequently utilized portion of the benefit," she said. "And there are lots of opportunities there in terms of cost savings options, picking a generic drug, looking for mail order, if that's an opportunity, looking for over-the-counter alternatives."

Nearly 58,000 Marylanders signed up for health insurance this year during two special enrollment periods brought on by concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials say the average rates for insurance have dropped by 12% for 2021 coverage.

Disclosure: United Healthcare - MD contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Diane Bernard, Public News Service - MD