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What Has Changed this Year?

What has changed this year?

With the headlines out of Washington, you may have questions about what the latest developments mean for you and your coverage.

We want to make sure our consumers have the facts and know that Maryland Health Connection is here to help you get the health coverage you need.

This is a place to check for updates on any changes that may impact you and the 1.1 million Marylanders who currently have health insurance through Maryland Health Connection.

For now, here’s what you need to know:

Open enrollment for 2019 health and dental has ended. You may qualify for a special enrollment period because of a recent major life event or special circumstance, such as having a baby, getting married or losing other health coverage. If you are eligible for Medicaid or MCHP, you can enroll any time.

The recent reduction in federal funding for the federal navigator program does not pertain to Maryland. Maryland Health Connection is a state-based marketplace. Therefore, the funding that supports our navigator program has been maintained for our navigators, who provide help for enrollment into free and low cost health coverage and private health plans. Outreach and communication to the 6% of Marylanders who still lack health coverage is vital.

Even if you’re already enrolled, it’s more important than ever to come back each year to browse plan prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal for you and your family. Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov, download our mobile app, or get free, in-person help from experts throughout Maryland.

Stay updated: sign up for alerts from MarylandHealthConnection.gov/blog, and follow us on Twitter @MarylandConnect.
We continue to help eligible people enroll year-round – including those who have recently experienced certain life changes like losing their job, getting married or divorced, or having a baby. If you are eligible for Medicaid or MCHP, you can enroll any time.

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What will happen to an undocumented family member? Can he or she still get health coverage?

Current law states that legal residents and those with qualifying documentation are able to purchase a plan through Maryland Health Connection. We use the information you provide in your health coverage application only to determine your eligibility for tax credits and health coverage through Maryland Health Connection.

It’s important to know that you can still apply for health coverage through Maryland Health Connection, even if some of your family members do not qualify for coverage because of immigration status. Individuals who are not requesting coverage will not be asked about their immigration status.

Here’s what you should know about immigration status and who can sign up for coverage through Maryland Health Connection:

  • In addition to US. citizens, people who are living in the United States legally can sign up for coverage through Maryland Health Connection. See our information for immigrant families (PDF) (también disponible en español) for statuses.
  • Currently, only certain immigration statuses qualify an individual to receive Medicaid. In addition, under most immigration statuses, you must be lawfully present in the U.S. for five years (“the five-year bar”) before you are eligible for Medicaid. A limited number of groups (including children under 21 and lawfully residing pregnant women) are exempt from the five-year requirement.
  • If you are an undocumented immigrant, you may be eligible for coverage of emergency medical services only, including labor and delivery, if you meet all other Medicaid eligibility requirements.

Do I still have to pay the penalty?

For 2018, the penalty for being uninsured is 2.5% of your gross household income, or $695 per individual (whichever is higher). The maximum penalty for lack of coverage in 2018 is $2,085, uninsured consumers will not face a fine. You must report your health insurance status when you file your taxes. Learn more at www.IRS.gov.

Some people are exempt from the requirement to have coverage and do not have to pay a fee even if they remain uninsured. For example, you may be exempt if you cannot afford coverage, are facing a hardship, have a religious objection to buying insurance, are an American Indian or Alaska Native, or are incarcerated. The federal government decides who is exempt from the coverage requirement.

Individuals remain responsible for having insurance or paying the penalty for the 2017 filing season and for 2018. The IRS has announced that it will reject electronic filings of taxes for 2017 that do not claim coverage or an exemption, or include a payment of the penalty. If you’re uninsured only one or two months, you don’t have to pay the fee at all. Learn about the “short gap” exemption.

Beginning in 2019, uninsured consumers will not face a fine. For 2019, the new tax cut legislation does not repeal the individual mandate, but it does "zero out" both the dollar amount and percentage of income penalties imposed by the mandate.

How is the Maryland marketplace doing?

Maryland’s percentage of residents without health insurance is at a historic low.