Backup Plan for Maryland Health Exchange Gets Final OK

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill to help people who could not enroll in a private health plan on Maryland’s health exchange website due to computer problems, sending the measure to Gov. Martin O’Malley who will sign the legislation.

The Senate voted 34-7 to adopt a change made by the House of Delegates to require the Maryland Health Insurance Plan to report to legislative panels about how enrollment is going for people who sought coverage for Jan. 1 but couldn’t get through the website in time through no fault of their own. Democratic and Republican critics of the state’s flawed health care exchange rollout have expressed frustration that they were not informed about the potential for computer problems.

The emergency legislation, which will go into effect as soon as O’Malley signs it, opens up the separate state health insurance pool to cover people who can show they tried to enroll by Jan. 1. The O’Malley administration announced plans for the bill shortly before the legislative session began earlier this month.

Supporters say the measure is a backup plan for between a few hundred people and 5,000. Many of them, however, will be able to get coverage retroactively in the exchange, because insurers extended an enrollment deadline. About 1,400 households registered for the deadline, which expired last week.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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