Maryland’s Affordable Care Act exchange offers a new mobile app to help people enroll in insurance coverage.
Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) has introduced a new mobile app for the upcoming open enrollment that will allow Marylanders to enroll in coverage on Maryland Health Connection directly from their smartphone or tablet, according to a press release.
The “Enroll MHC” app is available free in the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android). The app allows consumers to apply, compare prices and ratings of various plans, log in to view their notices and even upload documents for verification if needed through the camera on their device. The app will indicate preliminary eligibility for federal tax credits and costsharing for private plans offered on the state’s health insurance marketplace, as well as eligibility for Medicaid and the Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP).
Full application features will be available by late October on the mobile app. It is tied directly to the application on MarylandHealthConnection.gov so any change made on the website will register on the mobile application and vice versa. The mobile application is fully secured by the infrastructure of the existing system. The app currently includes 2016 plans. It will be loaded with 2017 plans for price-shopping in early October before enrollment opens on Nov. 1. Dec. 15 is the deadline for 2017 coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2017. Open enrollment for 2017 coverage will end Jan. 31. Enrollment in Medicaid for those eligible is year-round.
“We’re thrilled that hundreds of thousands of Marylanders have found coverage through Maryland Health Connection. And we expect the app to help more people enroll or re-enroll, especially those who rely heavily on smartphones for online access. More than one-third of visitors to our website were on mobile devices,” said Carolyn Quattrocki, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which operates Maryland Health Connection. “We hope the improvements we’re making online and throughout our consumer assistance operation help even more families connect with affordable coverage for their peace of mind.”
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is providing funding for maintenance of the mobile app in 2017, which will serve enrollees in both Medicaid and private health insurance plans.
The website MarylandHealthConnection.gov will feature a new look and more user-friendly navigation to help consumers enroll more easily. The redesign project, which will launch in early October, began last February following consumer research that MHBE conducted toward the end of 2016 open enrollment. The live “user experience” testing revealed that certain terms and steps presented obstacles, such as reporting “household” size to determine financial assistance. The website also provides simpler language and better directions to expedite the enrollment process.