Ahold USA food and drug chain Giant has partnered with Maryland Health Connection to raise customer awareness and provide information about new health insurance coverage options coming their way next month.


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Giant pharmacies to offer health insurance guidance

September 10th, 2013

BALTIMORE – Ahold USA food and drug chain Giant has partnered with Maryland Health Connection to raise customer awareness and provide information about new health insurance coverage options coming their way next month.

Plans call for Maryland Health Connection to display and distribute educational materials about new health benefits from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 100 Giant supermarket pharmacies from Oct. 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014, the open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace created by the health care reform law.

Giant will collaborate with Maryland Health Connection and its six consumer assistance organizations throughout the state to organize outreach events during the enrollment period, when navigators and assisters will be available to speak with consumers about health plan options and answer questions in stores.

"Our awareness and outreach partnership with Maryland Health Connection reflects Giant's commitment to fostering a healthy community," Gayle Shields, director of pharmacy operations for Giant, said in a statement. "As the nation's capital grocer, we are continually looking for opportunities to better serve our customers. We are proud to join Maryland Health Connection and offer convenient places for Maryland residents to learn about the choices they have regarding their health care."

Maryland Health Connection is the state health insurance marketplace operated by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. People who enroll for health insurance through Maryland Health Connection before Dec. 18 will have coverage starting on Jan. 1.

"We're excited to increase awareness about the Oct. 1 launch of Maryland Health Connection, and we're grateful to Giant Food for working with us to achieve this goal," stated Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. "We've worked hard to ensure that Marylanders will have some of the highest-quality health care plans at some of the most affordable prices in the nation. Thousands of Marylanders qualify for no-cost or low-cost health care coverage, so I urge everyone to learn more about the Maryland Health Connection."

An estimated 14% of Maryland's population of 5.8 million, or 800,000, are currently uninsured. The state-based insurance marketplace will provide access to financial assistance such as premium tax credits to lower insurance premium costs and cost-sharing reductions to reduce out of pocket costs.

According to Maryland Health Connection, about 180,000 individuals are expected to enroll in qualified health plans during the first year of the exchange's operation. Statewide, roughly 100,000 Marylanders are expected to become newly eligible for Medicaid as a result of the ACA's expansion of Medicaid.

"With the countdown to open enrollment in progress, Maryland Health Connection is pleased to have Giant Food as a partner to educate consumers about the new health coverage options available through the insurance marketplace opening Oct. 1 in Maryland," commented Danielle Davis, director of communications and outreach for Maryland Health Connection. "Hundreds of thousands of residents will qualify for free or subsidized health coverage, and with the help of Giant Food stores in Maryland we will be able to reach as many of them as possible."

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