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The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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DHMH Press Releases : Federal Insurance Options



BALTIMORE, Md. (March 19, 2012) - Today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown kicked off the 2nd Anniversary Week of the Affordable Care Act by joining leadership from the Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP), Congressman John Sarbanes, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, health care representatives, community members and state and local officials to announce the launch of a new marketing campaign designed to boost awareness of the federal insurance options offered by the Maryland Health Insurance Plan, a state and federally funded health insurance program for individuals who cannot obtain health insurance because of a pre-existing medical condition.
The new comprehensive campaign is aimed at raising awareness about the MHIP Federal program throughout Maryland, with the goal of increasing applications and covering more Marylanders in need. Comprised of widespread advertising through mediums such as television, radio, outdoor signage and online, social media marketing, public relations outreach and direct community engagement, this campaign will reach potentially eligible enrollees across the state, Marylanders who are unable to obtain health insurance because of a pre-existing medical condition.
"As we reach the 2nd anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act this week, Maryland has become a national leader in implementing health care reform because we understand reform will reduce costs, increase access, and improve the quality of care for all Marylanders," said Lt. Governor Brown. "Coverage for those who have been denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition is one of the key benefits already available. This campaign will increase awareness about MHIP Federal in order to provide life-saving health care coverage to more Marylanders and help bridge the gap until Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange is operational in 2014. I would like to thank our partners at MHIP for their hard work to provide coverage to more Marylanders, as well as Maryland's Congressional Delegation for their leadership in supporting the ACA and securing the critical funds that have made MHIP Federal possible."
"Some Marylanders who cannot obtain health insurance because of a pre-existing medical condition are at the end of their ropes," said Maryland Health Insurance Plan Executive Director Kent McKinney. "MHIP Federal is designed to provide relief and hope to those people. MHIP is very excited to launch this campaign to better inform uninsurable Maryland residents about the options available to them."
MHIP Federal complements the State's efforts to establish Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange, a one-stop competitive marketplace that will make available qualified health plans to qualified employers and individuals, including those with pre-existing medical conditions. Lt. Governor Brownis championing legislation before the General Assembly this session to continue implementation of the Exchange, which, under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), must be certified as operational by January 1, 2013 and fully functioning by January 1, 2014.
"A pre-existing condition shouldn't mean Marylanders don't have access to the medical care they need," said Congressman Sarbanes. "As we implement the Affordable Care Act, which will expand coverage to millions of Americans, the MHIP federal program provides a critical option for people that need health insurance who previously would have been denied."
"There is no better way to highlight the 2nd Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act than to extend affordable, accessible, quality healthcare coverage to even more Marylanders," said Representative Edwards. "The marketing campaign launched today will raise awareness about insurance options available to those who, due to pre-existing conditions or their medical history, found health insurance coverage either unattainable or unaffordable. I want to congratulate our partners at MHIP for this project and for their continued efforts to implement the health reform law and create Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange in 2014."
Launched in September 2010 as part of ACA, the Maryland Health Insurance Plan's Federal program provides individuals with a qualifying medical condition with day-one comprehensive coverage for their illness and related medical needs. MHIP Federal is funded by $85 million in federal dollars made available through the ACA.
"The top goal in passing health care reform is to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care coverage," said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, who voted for passage of the Affordable Care Act. "Marylanders are fortunate that our state has become a national leader in setting up health care options for those with pre-existing conditions through the Maryland Health Insurance Plan. Marylanders need to know that health care coverage is available - regardless of their health care status."
"Expanding access to health care is a key component of our efforts to create a healthier Maryland," said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "The MHIP Federal program is a great option for Marylanders with serious illness."
To qualify for MHIP Federal, an applicant must:
  • Be a current Maryland resident; and
  • Be a citizen or legal resident of the United States; and
  • Have been without health insurance continuously for six months prior to applying for the MHIP Federal program; and
  • Be diagnosed with a qualifying pre-existing medical condition.
In addition to its standard health benefit options, MHIP Federal offers MHIP Federal+, a program that offers reduced rates to MHIP Federal members who qualify based on annual household income. A full list of qualifying medical conditions, costs and other eligibility details about the MHIP Federal program can be found online at
Lt. Governor Brown leads the O'Malley-Brown Administration's health care portfolio. Under the leadership of Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has implemented reforms that have expanded health coverage to over 310,000 Marylanders and put the State in position to maximize the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).