BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Open enrollment for health insurance provided through the state-run Maryland Health Connection has been extended until the end of February, Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday.

The decision comes after a record 181,603 Marylanders enrolled for coverage for 2022, a 9% increase from last year, the governor’s office said.

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“As we battle this COVID-19 surge, this extended enrollment period will help get more Marylanders covered at a critical time,” said Hogan. “One of the many lessons of the pandemic is how important it is to have access to affordable and reliable health coverage, and we are fortunate to have a health exchange that is a national model.”

Residents who sign up by the end of January will have coverage for February, and anyone who enrolls in February will have coverage starting in March.

According to the governor’s office, an additional 39,181 Marylanders enrolled for coverage through the exchange, up 48% from last year, and 142,000 enrollees retained their plan from 2021.

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Hogan on Tuesday also announced a series of health-related spending proposals in his budget for Fiscal Year 2023.

The state would provide $75 million to local health departments as they continue to respond to COVID-19, plus an additional $9.4 million to address any pandemic-related shortfalls at those agencies.

Additional initiatives include:

  • $1.96 billion in SNAP benefits for children, covering more than 390,000 households
  • $6.6 million to increase SNAP benefits for seniors, giving enhanced benefits to 27,000 seniors
  • $187 million to providers offering care for developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues
  • $10 million for local food banks
  • $5 million to launch a program helping nonprofits across the state with staffing
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“We are also providing critical relief to support underserved Marylanders and people in need, especially our seniors on fixed incomes and children in low-income families,” Hogan said.

CBS Baltimore Staff