Maryland Health Connection released the numbers for the 2018 Open Enrollment season today. For a full version of their press release click here.  In the meantime, here are some highlights:

  • A total of 153,571 Marylanders enrolled in private health coverage during the 2018 open enrollment for Maryland Health Connection, compared to 157,637 who enrolled in 2017 - an enrollment period that was twice as long - 90 days compared to this year's period of just 45 days.

  • Consumers aged 18-34 made up 30% of total enrollments, the same as a year ago when Maryland ranked 5th in the nation for its percentage of young-adult enrollments.
  • African-American enrollment was up 12% and Hispanic enrollment increased by 10% over 2017.

  • Enrollment also rose in rural areas, including an 11% increase in the Far Western region of Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties and a 9%  jump in the Lower Eastern Shore region of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. “We were particularly pleased to make greater inroads covering Marylanders in rural areas,” Eberle said. Maryland ranked fourth in the nation in gains in rural health coverage between 2013 and 2015, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis last year.
  • Consumer assistance organizations that provide free enrollment help to Marylanders, also saw a 46% increase over a year ago despite the shorter period this year, assisting more than 37,000 enrollees.
  • There was a significant shift in carrier choice, largely driven by rate increases, and other carriers leaving the marketplace. CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield now has 55% of the market, down 9% from the previous two years and down 39% from the first year of Maryland Health Connection in 2014 when they had 94% of the market. Kaiser Permanente continued to show increasing growth with 45% of the market share, up 9% from 2017, and way up from only having 4% of the market share in 2014.