Underwhelming Amount Of Marylanders Enrolled In Affordable Care Act

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The numbers are in, and they’re not looking good. Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act is marginal compared to expectations.

But Pat Warren reports there’s still a chance to make up for lost time.

Maryland is among the states that have set up their own health care exchanges.

But despite the cheerful heralding of the TV ads, the website has had its share of troubles. Out of the 106,000 Americans who signed up nationwide, 1,284 of them are Marylanders. Another 3,300 have enrolled in Medicaid.

The State Health Department reports nearly 11,000 have completed applications but have yet to choose a plan.

“Maryland has its own problems and the experience on the website is not what it needs to be,” said Ben Cardin.

Marylanders who were encouraged at the rollout may have lost momentum.

“When Medicare was rolled out, there were problems with Medicare. When Social Security was rolled out, there were problems with Social Security,” Cardin said. “So it’s not unexpected that we would have some difficulty.”

“Nothing is working as it’s supposed to work,” said Rep. Andy Harris, (R) Maryland.

The president OK’ed extensions for policies canceled under Affordable Care. About 73,000 Marylanders may qualify for those one-year extensions.

But Maryland Congressman Andy Harris says it is up to the insurance industry to determine if that will happen.

“This was an idea that I think that some people thought up who have no idea how complex health insurance is. And we heard a little of that from the president today when he admitted health insurance is very, very complex,” said Harris.

And deadlines are approaching.

You have until Dec. 15 to sign up for a plan that takes effect Jan. 1. Afterwards, you have until March 31 to sign up or pay a penalty.

Healthcare Access Maryland will be at local CVS and Giant stores in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties on Saturday to help residents with their health care options.

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