As a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus, millions of Americans are unemployed. The uncertainly and unpleasantness of job loss often results in the loss of health insurance. The Maryland Health Connection, the state’s health insurance marketplace, is responding by creating an emergency special enrollment period for uninsured Marylanders.

The special enrollment period allows a patient to enroll in a qualified health plan through

Maryland Health Connection outside of the annual open enrollment period in the fall.

Enrollment in the exchange is limited to a certain period, with a few exceptions. Under normal circumstances, certain life events allow individuals to enroll or change plans, such as losing employer-sponsored coverage, having a baby, getting married, or moving to Maryland. Patients who are eligible for Medicaid may apply any time of year.

Due to an emergency order signed by Governor Hogan, uninsured individuals have a special period to enroll in a health plan. The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange announced June 18 it has extended the deadline of its Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period so uninsured residents will have until July 15 to enroll in health coverage through Maryland Health Connection. More than 43,000 residents have received coverage during this special enrollment period that began in March.

Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov to sign up. Individuals who lose coverage through their jobs have 60 days from loss of coverage to enroll. If they’ve missed that deadline, they can get coverage through Maryland Health Connection’s Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period. No reason or explanation is required.

Maryland Health Connection was established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Gene M. Ransom III is the CEO of MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society. Email – gransom@medchi.org. Twitter — @GeneRansom.

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