The state is hiring more than 400 staffers as it proceeds to implement the federal health program known as Obamacare.
The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange
, a key element in the plan, is hiring more than 300 people around the state, of which 107 are in the Baltimore metro and Anne Arundel County region, to operate a program that enrolls individuals and small businesses in the exchange. The exchange is also hiring another 75 to 100 people to operate its central call center. These positions are in addition to the 70 jobs announced earlier
whose staffers would be involved in setting up the exchange itself.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, required that each state set up a marketplace for the public and health insurers. In 2011, the Maryland General Assembly created the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, an independent state agency, to fill that role. The state is beginning to roll out programs in the state, starting with the Connector Program, which signs up people for the plan, and the call center.
The Connector Program enrolls individuals and small businesses in the exchange. Enrollment for individuals officially begins Oct. 1, and for small businesses on Jan. 1, 2014. The program is hiring staffers, called navigators and assistors, to guide individuals and small businesses through the health insurance options in the exchange. Training for staffers will begin in July and August in anticipation of the official enrollment dates.
The exchange has hired six healthcare vendors to set up the Connector Program in regions around the state. Leslie Lyles Smith, the Health Benefit Exchange’s director of operations, says each vendor has its own hiring practices and application deadlines may vary. Job-seekers can visit the exchange website for the names of the vendors in the regions. Smith says vendors may be contacted directly.
The exchange is spending approximately $24 million, split among the vendors, to set up the program.
Besides the six vendors for the program, nearly 50 subcontractors will support their efforts. Vendor positions include training development and delivery for the Connector Program and staffing and running the central call center, named the Consolidated Service Center. The center is scheduled to open in August. Smith says the state will announce the vendor awarded the call center contract in a few weeks.
Besides the over 400 employees being hired to operate the program and call center, the exchange itself is continuing to hire staffers and vendors for other, future programs. The exchange website has job listings under the “careers” category and instructions to apply. Requests for vendors is on the website under “procurement” along with information about vendors who have already been awarded contracts.
The Maryland Health Connection
is the exchange’s online portal for the public to get information about its programs, health insurance and tax credit, and enrollment. Smith says the exchange is also launching a social media campaign, tentatively set for May, as a way to inform the public about the healthcare options.
Source: Leslie Lyles Smith, Maryland Health Benefit Exchange
Writer: Barbara Pash