Baltimore Sun
Dec 3, 2014

It’s December and quickly creeping toward the next holiday season. We have had Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. How about taking a step back and giving a gift to yourself?

What about the gift of peace of mind by making sure that as we celebrate together with friends and family, that we all have health care coverage? It truly is the gift that keeps on giving, and it can save you from financial ruin. Seems like a pretty worthwhile gift to me!

So, as we scour our stores and Internet deals for that special gift, how about taking a look at another online marketplace — the Maryland Health Connection ( You can compare health plans that work best for you, find a deal that fits your budget, and in lots of cases qualify for subsidies to help you foot the bill.

If you shopped successfully last year and got a plan, you have to go through a few easy steps by Dec. 18 to make sure that on Jan. 1 you still have your plan with tax credits. Dec. 18 is also the deadline for Marylanders who might have never had coverage before to find an affordable plan that would begin on New Year’s Day.

If there are just too many decorations to put up, or not enough time before the 18th to get coverage for New Year’s Day, no need to panic — enrollment does not close until Feb. 15, but who wouldn’t be excited to see the ball drop in Times Square and know you are good to go on coverage?

So how about moving that New Year’s resolution to get covered and healthy up a few weeks? Harder to break it if it’s taken care of before the New Year! Everyone should take action and shop for choices before the 18th to make sure you have a happy and healthy holiday season, but also a 2015 that is full of wellness and prevention so you don’t break the bank!

Matthew Celentano, Baltimore

The writer is deputy director of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.

Last modified: December 5, 2014