Don’t get caught without health in­sur­ance

The Enterprise - - Community Forum -

I was 18 and driv­ing to a job in­ter­view when a bad car ac­ci­dent knocked me un­con­scious and killed off a part of my kid­ney. It took months for me to walk again nor­mally. I didn’t have health in­sur­ance, and the hospi­tal bills from that day were tremen­dous.

Don’t get caught like I did without health in­sur­ance. The dead­line for open en­roll­ment into Mary­land’s pri­vate health in­sur­ance plans is Satur­day, Dec. 15. Get the health in­sur­ance plan that works best for your bud­get.

Last year, nine out of 10 Mary­lan­ders who en­rolled through Mary­land Health Con­nec­tion — the state’s mar­ket­place for pri­vate health in­sur­ance — re­ceived fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to help pay for their plan. This year, health in­sur­ance rates/costs in Mary­land have dropped an av­er­age of 13 per­cent.

Browse through op­tions at Mary­landHealthCon­nec­tion.gov where you can com­pare plans, sign up and down­load a mo­bile app to help. There is also free, lo­cal, in-per­son as­sis­tance to help you nav­i­gate the en­roll­ment process and de­cide which plan works best for you. See a nav­i­ga­tor at the St. Mary’s County De­part­ment of So­cial Ser­vices by call­ing 855-339-3007.

The Dec. 15 dead­line is for pri­vate health in­sur­ance plans. If you qual­ify for Med­i­caid you can sign up through­out the year. For ques­tions about Med­i­caid qual­i­fi­ca­tions, please con­tact the St. Mary’s County Health De­part­ment at 301-475-4330, or visit www. sm­chd.org.

Dr. Meena Brew­ster, Leonard­town The writer is St. Mary’s County health of­fi­cer.

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