Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown held a news conference Dec. 10 to update Maryland residents on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, including staffing and technology changes to improve the system, according to a statement released by his office.
“Our #1 focus—our most urgent priority—is doing everything possible to make sure that Marylanders can sign up for affordable health care and get access to the benefits their families need,” Brown said. “As we move forward, that’s going to remain our focus. That’s why the governor and I have made changes by restructuring the Exchange’s leadership and bringing in additional resources.”
Exchange interim Executive Director Carolyn Quattrocki said she has met with Maryland Health Benefit Exchange staff.
“They, along with our IT teams, vendors, consumer assistance professionals, brokers and other partners, are acutely aware that this is an all-hands-on-deck operation,” Quattrocki said. “Since the launch on October 1, they have gone above and beyond to improve the website and remove the barriers to enrollment. While there is still a lot of work left to be done, we will not stop until we've fixed the problems…”
State officials said they have made changes, including stepping up technology, increasing staffing levels and strengthening the organizational structure at the Exchange. Additional workers were also hired to staff the call center and leadership was restructured.
The changes, officials said in the statement, have led to an increase in enrollment, the statement said. Officials said 22,000 Marylanders have signed up with the Exchange—5,200 through Qualified Health Plans and approximately 17,000 with Medicaid.
Enrollment information for more than 4,000 individuals who signed up has been transmitted to insurance carriers. The first bills were mailed to customers this week, authorities announced at the news conference.
The Exchange has converted 87,000 people in the Primary Adult Care (PAC) program to full Medicaid benefits, effective Jan. 1, 2014. These individuals, “low income adults who do not have children and were not previously eligible for full Medicaid benefits, will now automatically have full coverage,” the statement said.
Medicaid ID cards will be sent to those individuals late next week.