The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange has launched the Connector Program in Maryland, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act and Maryland law, to provide target populations with in-person education, eligibility and enrollment assistance.
The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012 established programs to serve both the Individual and the SHOP Exchanges. Nearly 250,000 Marylanders are expected to become newly insured as a result of expanded Medicaid eligibility and the creation of subsidized health insurance products offered through Maryland Health Connection (MHC).
To successfully enroll the State’s uninsured residents in coverage options available through the Affordable Care Act beginning in October 2013, the MHBE has developed the Connector Program to provide robust outreach and enrollment mechanisms to help consumers learn about, apply for and enroll in an appropriate health insurance products, including Medicaid, the Maryland Children’s Health Program, and subsidized and non-subsidized qualified health plans.
On April 25, 2013, the MHBE announced the launch of the Connector Program with the designation of six organizations that will serve as prime “connector entities” throughout the state:
The Connector Program will offer services through six regional “connector entities”:
- Capital Region: Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services
- Central Region: Health Care Access Maryland
- Lower Eastern Shore Region: Worcester County Health Department
- Southern Region: Calvert Health Care Solutions
- Upper Eastern Shore Region: Seedco, Inc.
- Western Region: Healthy Howard, Inc.
Connector entities are responsible for organizing all partners and services across the region and providing a single point of responsibility for engagement with the MHBE and the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA).
The connector entities will employ trained and certified navigators to counsel and enroll residents into qualified health plans and Medicaid through Maryland Health Connection, the state-based insurance marketplace scheduled to open on October 1, 2013, as well as non-certified personnel, known as “assisters,” who will be trained to provide information, assistance and enrollment into Medicaid. Navigators and assisters will provide information about eligibility requirements for federal premium subsidies and cost-sharing assistance, and assess eligibility requirements for Medicaid and Maryland Children’s Health Program.
Navigators and in-person assisters will provide referrals to appropriate agencies, including the Attorney General’s Health Education and Advocacy Unit (HEAU) and the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) for applicants and enrollees with grievances, complaints, questions or the need for other social services through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Human Resources (Social Services).