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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2017
For More Information:
Dee-Dee Bass Wilbon
Internal & External Affairs Liaison
Prince George’s County Department of Social Services
Prince George’s County Residents
Urged to Enroll in and Maintain Health Insurance Coverage
Landover, MD -- The 2017 open enrollment period for health coverage through Maryland Health Connection, the state’s health insurance marketplace, ends on Jan. 31, 2017. Prince George’s County residents 18 to 64 years of age who do not have health insurance should enroll to ensure coverage for this year and to avoid a tax penalty. Those who are already enrolled should make sure to pay their bill to maintain coverage. This is especially urgent in the face of anticipated changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“ACA is critical to thousands of families in Prince George’s County and millions of Americans who need affordable health care,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. “With the help of ACA, we have been able to reduce the number of uninsured residents in Prince George’s by 50% over the last 3 years. We remain focused on continuing to drive the number of uninsured people down, which is why we are urging residents to get enrolled before January 31st. Our goal is to increase enrollment in ACA as well as step up our fight to maintain it for the people who really need this coverage.”
Following the Jan. 31 deadline, individuals will not be able to apply for health insurance through Maryland Health Connection again until 2018, except under special circumstances. Enrollment for Medicaid is year-round.
Last year, 9 out of 10 Marylanders who enrolled in qualified health plans through Maryland Health Connection received financial support to offset some or all of their costs. In 2016, Marylanders received approximately $225 million in federal tax credits to off-set out-of-pocket costs. The average tax credit per household was about $425 a month.
Since 2013, the first year of open enrollment under ACA, Prince George’s County has enrolled an estimated 175,000 people in qualified health plans and expanded Medicaid through Maryland Health Connection, reducing the number of Prince Georgians without health insurance coverage to approximately 7 percent. Perhaps as many at 90,000 County residents remain uncovered, and of those, there are 45,000 Prince George’s County residents eligible to receive health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, who have not acquired it.
Gloria Brown Burnett, the Director of the Prince George's County Department of Social Services, the agency that oversees Prince George's County Department of Social Services, the agency that oversees Prince George's Health Connect, a consumer assistance program, contents that many residents are still unaware that they can qualify. "Having health coverage is critically important. Without it, there is no real access to quality health care. To have a good quality of life, we must make sure that we are healthy. To assure that we are healthy, we must have health insurance and we must keep it in place. And we must encourage others, including our families, friends, and colleagues to "Get Covered, Get Seen, Get Healthy, " said Burnett.
To sign up for health insurance coverage or to make sure that you will maintain your health coverage, contact Prince George’s Health Connect at 301.927.4500 or www.pgchealthconnect.org
Prince George’s Health Connect also has developed free educational sessions for individuals and groups. Sessions focus on health insurance literacy, the importance of health coverage, choosing the right plan, and coverage and benefits.