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Maryland Sen. Van Hollen is pushing for healthcare enrollment on tax forms nationwide

Courtesy of U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen's office
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, is expected to introduce legislation that would enable healthcare enrollment on tax forms replicated nationwide.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, expects to introduce federal legislation seeking to broaden the use of a health insurance enrollment strategy nationwide.

Maryland’s Easy Enrollment Program has been lauded by healthcare analysts as an effective way to inform people about state healthcare opportunities and discounts afforded to them.

The state program allows individuals to check a box on their tax forms to receive information about coverage available.

Van Hollen said he thinks the bill can help the 7.3 million Americans who still don’t have health insurance.

“These people don’t have insurance because they don't know about it, or because it's been not so convenient to set it up, or they haven't navigated the internet,” Van Hollen said in Annapolis last week. “That's a lot of people.”

After an individual checks the box on their tax forms, they will be given a special 60-day enrollment period to sign up for coverage – whether that’s individual health care exchange insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

Van Hollen said his bill will benefit Marylanders even though it already has a program because it may better inform state residents about federal programs.

“Our goal is to go from 6% uninsured in Maryland to 0% uninsured and one of the ways we're going to accomplish that is by fully enrolling everybody who's eligible now for free or low cost health care,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Healthcare for All Coalition, an organization that lobbies for equitable health coverage.

Since 2019, when the Easy Enrollment program began, more than 100,000 people have requested information and more than 10,00 have gotten health coverage, according to Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the state’s insurance marketplace.

About 370,000 Marylanders do not have health insurance, but about half of them are eligible through Medicaid and state programs, according to Van Hollen.

Easy Enrollment is one way to get that information in front of individuals who are otherwise uninsured, he said.

Scott is the Health Reporter for WYPR. @smaucionewypr
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