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A simple unemployment form change could help struggling Marylanders access affordable health care | COMMENTARY

The Baltimore Sun 

By Lorig Charkoudian

November 16, 2020

EXCERPT:

“Maryland, like the rest of the country, is still trying to recover from the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, even as caseloads spike again. Far too many of our friends, neighbors and family members are out of work — struggling to pay their bills and to stay afloat financially.

Adding to their problems is the fact that many of these people pushed into unemployment also lost their employer-sponsored health insurance. The number of people who are uninsured in the state has risen significantly since the pandemic hit here in March, with as many as 195,000 people estimated to have lost coverage — at the worst possible time, during a deadly pandemic of rapidly spreading disease.

For many people who lack coverage, an affordable — or even free — insurance plan is available. But many people simply don’t know where to begin to find coverage. As a state, we need to take steps to educate the public and make it easier for people who are facing unemployment to enroll in health insurance.

There’s a straightforward way to do it: The Maryland Department of Labor could add questions to its forms that let people without coverage find out whether they qualify for free or low-cost health care — and get help signing up — at the same time they apply for unemployment insurance.”

Read full article at https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/op-ed/bs-ed-op-1117-health-unemployment-insurance-20201116-5bgulyj3mncjjk5tdd23p6mghq-story.html