Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance under the Affordable Care Act begins November 1 and ends December 15, 2017. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III today urged residents who are un-insured or are underinsured to take advantage of the upcoming health enrollment period and enroll into a health plan.
“This is an extraordinary time. Over the last several months, we have seen numerous attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The recent Executive Order threatens the stability of the marketplace and may cause residents with affordable health coverage to lose their tax credits and eligibility for cost sharing reductions. While the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land, with each attempt to attack the Affordable Care Act, we have come to see how vital it is to have access to health care, now! Without coverage, there is no clear pathway to prevention, wellness and improving health outcomes. I urge all Prince Georgians who are not covered, please get coverage now. This is the time,” said County Executive Baker.
Since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, Prince George’s County has reduced theuninsured rate from approximately 15%% to slightly below 9%. It is estimated that as many as 78,000 residents remain uninsured. While many of the uninsured are not eligible to enroll in the State’s insurance marketplace, due to their immigration status, there are an estimated 30,000 or more residents who likely are eligible for a plan that fits their budget and meets their needs.
Prince George’s County Health Connect, a program of the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, is funded by Maryland Health Connection, the State of Maryland’s health insurance marketplace. One of eight connector programs in Maryland, Prince George’s County Health Connect is helping residents, Get Covered, Get Seen and Get Healthy! This effort goes beyond enrollment in health coverage to educate everyone on the importance of establishing a relationship with a primary care provider and using their coverage appropriately.
According to Gloria Brown Burnett, Director of the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, “the lack of adequate health coverage is one of the key social determinants of health. The opportunity to remove this barrier significantly enhances residents’ ability to improve their health status. The Department of Social Services recognizes how important it is to help strengthen our families; and to do that, barriers must be removed,” said Brown Burnett.
Managed by the Department of Social Services, Prince George’s County Health Connect provides trained, certified, bilingual navigators, who offer free, one-on-one consumer assistance with health insurance enrollment. Currently, nine out of 10 Marylanders, qualify for subsidies and discounts.
Prince George’s County Health Connect experts are located at all Department of Social Services sites; at two storefront locations, including the Hampton Mall in Capitol Heights, LaUnion Mall in Langley Park; and at two community-based organizations, CASA and Sowing Empowerment & Economic Development, Inc. (SEED), in Prince George’s County. The program also works with Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP), based in the Health Department.
For information on the locations, hours of operation at enrollment sites, or to schedule a free appointment to see a navigator, call the Prince George’s County Health Connect Call Center at (301) 927-4500; or visit,www.pgchealthconnect.org.