MONTPELIER, Vt., and ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Officials in Vermont and Maryland are hoping healthier enrollment systems and an influx of procrastinators will improve public exchange enrollment totals.
In Vermont, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Thursday that residents are signing up in increasing numbers.
About 45,000 of the 65,000 people the state estimates qualify for health insurance coverage through the federally mandated health insurance exchanges have signed up, the governor said at a Statehouse news conference.
About 5,000 people have signed up since Monday, Shumlin said.
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“We’ve signed up in the last four or five days as many people as signed up in the first five to six weeks of Vermont Health Connect,” he said.
The governor and other officials encouraged residents to sign up through the telephone or a one-on-one session with a “navigator” if the enrollment website has problems.
The state has responded to exchange website problems by letting Vermonters extend their current policies through March 31.
The state was going to require small businesses to buy all new policies through the exchange, even if the businesses also were using brokers. Small businesses in the state can now go directly to the state’s two health insurance providers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and MVP Healthcare, to arrange coverage.
In Maryland, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said he is still aiming to meet the goal of enrolling 260,000 people in private insurance and Medicaid through that state’s public exchange by March 31.
O’Malley said state exchange managers have already fixed many glitches and should have a glitch relating to tax credits fixed this week.
Another problem has caused screens to freeze. O’Malley says exchange managers are still analyzing that problem but have made progress.
The state hopes to enroll 150,000 people through private insurance plans and another 110,000 in Medicaid by the end of March, when the individual exchange program open enrollment period closes.