Governor Larry Hogan signed the first measure in the country to provide this opportunity.
Maryland has become the first state in the country to make it possible for residents to complete a health insurance enrollment at the same time that they file their taxes.
The governor signed the bill on Monday, making it possible for tax forms to double as insurance applications.
The new bill lets residents use their tax forms for the opportunity to complete their health insurance enrollment as well. When Governor Hogan signed the bill, it made Maryland the first state in the country to provide this opportunity.
In the state, Marylanders will be able to opt into a health insurance plan by simply selecting a box on their tax forms. This option will become available as of 2020. It is estimated that there are about 360,000 people in the state who don’t yet have a health plan. About half of those uninsured people in the state may qualify for either subsidies on their premiums or for Medicaid.
The goal is to make it easier and more convenient to complete health insurance enrollment.
“When you file your taxes you’ll be asked, ‘Are you insured now?’,” explained Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative’s Vinny DeMarco. “And if the answer is ‘no’ and you’re eligible for Medicaid, you’ll be automatically enrolled unless you object.” The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative is a healthcare advocacy organization.
Upon filing their taxes, uninsured residents in the state will have the opportunity to choose either a $695 penalty for failing to obtain coverage or they can choose to put that money toward their health plan enrollment. The health plan offered through the tax forms will be the lowest cost health insurance policy available to that individual.
“It says that we care that everyone has access to healthcare and make sure everyone is covered,” said Maryland State Deligate Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D- Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties), the bill’s lead sponsor in the house. “Frankly, we’re pretty progressive.”
The health insurance enrollment bill received bipartisan support from both chambers. It will raise health insurance program spending by $1.2 million.