Last year the Maryland Legislature passed Senate Bill 36 establishing a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for pregnant women. As of Jan. 1, 2020, becoming pregnant means you can enroll in a health plan or change your current plan. At Maryland Health Benefit Exchange,our mission is to reduce the uninsured rate in Maryland. With the signing of Senate Bill 36, we are working to provide coverage for this new population.
What is a special enrollment period?
A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) allows you to enroll in a health plan through Maryland Health Connection or change your current plan outside of the annual open enrollment period. You may enroll or change plans only if you have certain life events and are otherwise eligible to enroll in coverage through Maryland Health Connection. With the passing of this bill, women will now be able to enroll in coverage when they become pregnant.
Why is this bill important?
According to UCRHealth.org, receiving prenatal care helps to catch potential concerns and reduces the risk of complications. At Maryland Health Benefit Exchange,our mission is to reduce the uninsured rate in Maryland. With the signing of Senate Bill 36, we are working to provide coverage for this new population.
Not only are pregnant women without adequate health insurance at financial risk, but if they go without necessary prenatal care, their health and the health of their babies also are at risk. Babies of mothers who don’t get prenatal care are three times more likely to have low birth weight and five times more likely to die than babies born to mothers who get adequate care.
What are my next steps if I am pregnant?
You have 90 days to apply after learning you are pregnant, but you should apply as soon as possible so you can receive prenatal care right away. After applying, you can choose to have your enrollment effective the first of the month you apply, or ask for coverage retroactive to the first day of the month you learned you were pregnant. In some cases, becoming pregnant may make you eligible for Medicaid, even if you weren’t eligible before.
If you are already enrolled and become pregnant, and want to select a new plan, the effective date of your new plan will follow the 15th of the first of the following month if selection is made between the 1st and the 15th of the month, or the first of the next following month if plan selection is made between the 15th and the end of the month. This SEP is effective for the pregnant member of the household and any members already enrolled.
If you become pregnant, visit marylandhealthconnection.gov to create an account and apply, or log into your existing account if you’re already enrolled. If you need assistance, we’re here to help! See a certified navigator or call 1-855-642-8572.