Maryland’s Key to Success: Auto-Enrollment (and Patience)

By Guest Blogger

This blog post was written by Matt Celentano, Deputy Director at Maryland Health Care for All!

Maryland’s state-based marketplace, the Maryland Health Connection, had some technical bumps early on, but one absolute success has been our efforts surrounding Medicaid enrollment. The Affordable Care Act made comprehensive health coverage a reality for Maryland’s low-income childless adults, and so far, the state is already on track to enroll more than 101,000 newly eligible Marylanders into Medicaid on January 1. This will have a huge effect on our state– not to mention the positive change for these individuals and their families who are gaining access to low or no cost health coverage.

The vast majority (nearly 88,000) of these new Medicaid enrollees will be enrolled automatically. This means that these individuals do not have to fill out any new forms, sign more papers, make any phone calls—or take any other action to be enrolled in Medicaid. The process should be entirely seamless from the enrollees’ perspective, with mailed notifications of their expanded coverage heading out soon and coverage starting January 1.

The Marylanders being auto-enrolled are currently in the Primary Adult Care (PAC) program. PAC is a state program that was created in 2006 to combat substance abuse for childless adults under 116 percent of the federal poverty level (an annual income of about $13,000 for an individual), but only covers very limited medical benefits. We had hoped these individuals would be transitioned to Medicaid in 2008 when Maryland did its own Medicaid expansion, but budget constraints prevented the plan from moving forward.

Patience has persevered and we are pleased that comprehensive health coverage is finally becoming a reality for thousands of Marylanders and are excited for coverage to begin soon! An added bonus is that this auto-enrollment adds less administrative burden to our Medicaid Agency and allows them to focus their efforts on enrolling the other Marylanders newly eligible for Medicaid. Stay tuned for updates.

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