ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — More than 18,000 Maryland residents without health insurance have sought information about getting coverage by checking a box on their tax returns.

Comptroller Peter Franchot released the initial data under the innovative Maryland program on Tuesday.

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State lawmakers approved the first-of-its-kind initiative last year. Under the program, people without health insurance can ask to receive information from the state’s health exchange about enrolling in coverage by checking the box on their tax returns.

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The exchange then mails a letter to let people know if they are eligible for free or low-cost coverage and outlining the enrollment process.

State officials say the program so far is exceeding expectations.

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