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Open enrollment starts today. Here’s what you really need to know:

Health care has been all over the news this year, so you may be unsure what all that buzz means for you, your health plan and your costs.

With open enrollment for 2018 health insurance starting today (Nov. 1) for Marylanders, here’s the skinny on what you really need to know — in less time than it’ll take to drink your morning coffee.

1) Open enrollment is now until Dec. 15 for Marylanders to sign up for health or dental coverage or to change their current plan. Plans start Jan. 1

Browse plans and enroll now at MarylandHealthConnection.gov or on your phone through our Enroll MHC free mobile app.

Here’s more grounds for celebration: We’re hosting “Beat the Rush” enrollment events throughout Maryland this week, Nov. 3-5. Find your local event, and review what to bring with you.

2) Health coverage for the daily cost of a cup of joe really is possible. Nine out of 10 Marylanders enrolled through us qualify for financial help with coverage.

Depending on your income and household size, your savings could actually increase this year, despite higher costs for some plans. That’s because financial help goes up with plan costs to make coverage more affordable.

If you have a 2017 plan, it’s especially important this year to come back to update your information and shop again. Changes in plans and costs, or your health needs, may mean a different plan is better for you.

3) Many people are eligible for free coverage through Medicaid or the Maryland Children’s Health Program. Another perk? You can sign up for those year-round.

If you or your children are already enrolled in these programs, you don’t need to take any action during the annual open enrollment period (which is only for private health plans and dental plans) unless you’ve received a notice telling you to renew.

4) You’ll love our navigators even more than your neighborhood barista. These friendly experts like Nefertiti can help you complete the application, choose the best health coverage, and access financial help.

They’re also a great resource for questions after you enroll or when you need to tell us about changes in your life or income. You can search here for local help, or check out all of our in-person help options.

5) Why sign up? Plans cover a latte (err... a lot) of essential benefits, including doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs and pediatric care.

Preventive care (like shots, screenings and birth control) also is covered for free, to help you stay healthier and reduce your overall health costs.

6) Here’s one more reason to wake you up: More than 1.2 million Marylanders are enrolled through us.

We’ve talked to many (like Margaret M. of Rockville) who are relieved to have the peace of mind that comes with health coverage and protection from unexpected medical costs.

Getting covered is easier than ever. So take a few minutes out of your daily grind to check out 2018 plans and financial help, and sign up for coverage now through Dec. 15 at MarylandHealthConnection.gov.

About Maryland Health Connection

Maryland Health Connection is Maryland’s official health insurance marketplace for individuals and families to compare plans and enroll in health and dental coverage. It’s the only place to get financial help with health insurance. See if you qualify for financial help like tax credits or Medicaid/MCHP to make health insurance more affordable.

Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov to enroll, or download our free Enroll MHC mobile app for Android and iPhone.

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