O'Malley files emergency legislation to help residents get health insurance

ANNAPOLIS - Maryland's Health Connection got off to a rocky start.

Since the website went live back in October, the state's only been able to enroll about 15 percent of the people they thought they could.

Now Gov. Martin O'Malley has introduced a bill to help those who have had problems getting coverage.

The governor introduced an emergency bill to help people who thought they enrolled in health insurance on the state's website, but actually didn't as of the Dec. 27 deadline.  Maryland is one of 14 states to offer its own health insurance exchange.

Much like the federal website, the state's site has experienced problems since it was introduced in October.  Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown was put in charge of the state's health insurance website and is hoping the bill will provide interim coverage until those people can actually enroll in a plan.

In a news conference last week, the governor said one of the main problems is getting accurate, timely information from the site. Brown says they aren't sure how many people didn't get signed up when they thought they were properly enrolled. Sot

"We are estimating a few hundred to 5,000," said Brown, who added that they are continuing to work on the website. "We reorganized the leadership, we launched a staff surge and we refocused our vendors."

Del. Susan Krebs (R-Carroll County), who is on the Health and Government Operations Committee, says the more than $150 million estimated already spent on the website is draining tax payer dollars and the bill will not help.

"It's just another Band Aid to a horrible problem…," Krebs said. "It has not been thoroughly thought through. The whole basis of the exchange is very problematic."

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