What Are Health Insurance Marketplaces and Exchanges?
Exchanges or marketplaces are services that enable enrollment in insurance either through a public or private forum. These forums are accessible through multiple portals and websites.
Maryland Private Exchanges vs Public Exchanges
The private exchange is designed to be used by employers to allow employees to enroll in a pre-selected company health insurance plan. It is also where individuals and small businesses shop and enroll for coverage during the open enrollment window. Consulting firms or brokers typically run the private exchange utilized by an employer.
The following carriers are available through private exchanges and third parties in Maryland:
- Kaiser Foundation Healthplan of the Mid-Atlantic States
- CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
- CareFirst BlueChoice
- All Savers Insurance Company
- Cigna Healthcare
The public exchange for Maryland is run by the state through Maryland Health Connection. The state of Maryland opted to move forward with a state-ran exchange as an adopter beginning in 2011. Historically, Maryland Health Connection operated as a clearinghouse but they recently switched to an active purchaser model, which allows Maryland to negotiate with carriers and make decisions on the plans that are available.
When using the public exchange, your application will also verify if you qualify for Medicaid, CHIP, or other discounts based on income level.
The following carriers are available through the Maryland public exchange:
- CareFirst Blue Choice
- CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Kaiser Permanente
Maryland Marketplace and Exchange Facts