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low cost health insurance
OnlineNavigator insurance enrollment supportNeed help?

We make it easy to get friendly, personal and help with health care reform questions through two fast support options:

Email support:
Email support is available 24/7 usually with same day response. Address your message to onlineadviser@live.com.

Telephone support:
Schedule telephone support with a call back at your convenience.

OnlineNavigator support is an independent service offered by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA MT subject to the adviser's schedule availability. This support is not intended to replace the services offered and available through other channels by your insurance company, insurance agents and health insurance navigators. Specifically, this service does not replace  online pricing and enrollment functions, billing, claims or administrative services and does not assist with Medicare or Medicaid plans.

See the OnlineNavigator web site for details on privacy policy and terms of service. 


Covering the Gaps in Obamacare

Health plans for diabetics - a listing of the health plan options and other resources
Value 24 Hour Accident - up to $10,000 of supplemental health insurance coverage for emergency treatment of injuries at a cost of about $2 per day. Can be used as a stand-alone coverage or added to other insurance.

Most Affordable Supplemental Coverage

Value Med Insurance - 3 question simple medical eligibility and immediate approval for supplemental doctor and hospital benefits

Primary Individual Major Medical Through a Private Exchange

Members Health Insurance Exchange allows you to price and choose from among many of the nations leading major medical health insurance options from a wide range of carriers. Personal help is available through OnlineNavigator to help with your selection.

Dental and Vision Insurance

Secure DentalOne - one lifetime deductible of $100 and then up to $1,250 per year coverage

Online Life Insurance

International Term Life - up to $2 million coverage issued by Lloyds online specifically for those who spend time outside of the US.

Maryland health insurance news

by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT   last updated: February 21, 2016

The two top priorities among individuals and small business who pay for their own health coverage is to find more affordable primary insurance and cover rapidly rising out-of-pocket medical costs that are not paid by primary health insurance.

Prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Maryland was an early innovator of insurance exchange technology with 12 commercial health insurance companies that issued individual medical insurance and 16 companies that issued small group insurance as well as the state-sponsored Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP) for high risk residents who have been denied coverage due to a pre-existing medical condition. These standard health insurance plans are no longer available today.

Since the passage of federal health insurance reform law, individuals and small businesses with less than 50 employees in Maryland can now purchase health insurance through the federal heath insurance clearinghouse or through a number of privately operated insurance exchanges. The state government is likely to expand its own insurance exchange system in cooperation with either the federal or private systems within the next few years.

Non-insurance options, like Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) can be added as effective cost-control tools; ask your adviser for more information.

This Web page lists some of the most popular low cost commercial health insurance plans and related benefits. Freedom Benefits offers personal assistance with any insurance exchange or health reform issue through www.OnlineNavigator.org . Your enrollment adviser is available to discuss suitability of any plan for your specific situation.

The federally mandate essential insurance benefit plans will be available through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Website. The state insurance exchange is expected to be online by November 1 with coverage starting January 2016, so individuals without insurance should make arrangements for temporary coverage until then. Covered health benefits under insurance purchased through the exchange in 2016 will be different than those offered though any 2015 health plans. The insurance plan that sets the benchmark for qualified coverage through the exchange is listed here and a list of state-mandated benefits can be found here.

Commercial insurance exchanges may also list less expensive insurance without the essential health benefits.

low cost health insurance

Maryland insurance and benefit pricing

Maryland had the 4th highest health insurance costs of all states in 2008 with an average family premium of $13,504 per year. (The average annual premium for a U.S. family covered under an employer-sponsored health plan in 2008 was $12,298 according to The Commonwealth Fund report. The overall quality of health care ranked 17th out of the 51 states (including DC).
The state ranked #26 in physical wellbeing (having good health and enough energy to get things done daily) according to a 2015 Gallup Healthways survey.
Maryland regulates the benefits required for both individual major medical and group health insurance plans, known as "mandated benefits".

Short Term Insurance

Secure STM - along with its 12 month and 36 month options, this may be the highest quality short term coverage

Immigrant Insurance

Inbound Immigrant - up to five years of liberal health insurance coverage after immigration including maternity coverage, emergency and other essential benefits

Supplemental Accident Insurance

Consumers Direct Accident Medical - Protection UpgradeSM supplemental coverage for as little as $20 per month.
Smart Accident Insurance - supplemental coverage for emergency treatment of accidents and injuries for as little as $20 per month. Can be used as a stand-alone accident plan or to increase other insurance benefits.


low cost health insurance

Maryland insurance law and regulation

The Maryland  Insurance Administration Web site contains a link to the full text of Maryland's insurance laws and regulations.  The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at 410-468-2244 or by mail at 200 St. Paul Place, Suite 2700 Baltimore MD 21202. The state children's health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP).

Small business plans

Freedom Benefits offers professional help with setup of self-administered Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), Premium Reimbursement Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and insurance at a low price than any small business can afford.

Non-insurance Discount Plans

Careington PPO Discount Plans - the nation's leading network PPO discount provider allows a no-risk trial of any discount plan for only a $20 processing fee
Drug Card America - a free prescription drug card that an be used nationwide
Essential Dental Solutions - simple, inexpensive, no waiting period, up to $500 treatment per year
Rx Pay Card - $10, $20, or $30 payments for hundreds of popular prescriptions.

Telemedicine

CallMD - Doctors and nurses literally on call 24/7 to answer questions, help with medical screening and write prescriptions saving you money with the most common types of medical care. $20 per month covers everyone in the household.

International Coverage and Travel Insurance

Maryland Insurance News

12/8/2014 The deadline for enrollment on the Maryland Health Connection for coverage starting Janaury 1, 2015 is December 18.. The exchange reports that more than 25,000 people have enrolled so far for 2015. Total enrollment may eventually exceed 400,000.

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Maryland residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated "A" by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific "essential health benefits" for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

12/14/2012 Maryland is one of a minority of states that will run a health insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses that is not managed by the federal government. Consumer advocates who once viewed a state-run exchange as a positive are growing concerned that the state may not be fully committed to implementing all of the funding and features expected to be part of the federal health insurance exchanges that are expected to open in the fall of 2013.

8/26/2012 Maryland will spend another $123 million on its health insurance marketing systems funded by a grant from the federal government. This will bring total spending to $157 million for a system that will sell insurance to up to 150,000 of the state's residents without insurance. Freedom Benefits previously noted that the selling cost (advertising, computer systems and overhead) for a policy through the Maryland insurance exchange will be more than $1,000 in the first year of operation. This cost is paid by taxpayers separately from the cost of the insurance itself that is already an expensive purchase. Consumer groups oppose spending on the insurance exchange noting that none of this overhead goes toward patient care.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that as of June 30, 2011 CareFirst BlueChoice is the state's largest health insurance provider and as such, earns the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state's essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

1/19/2012 With just under two year remaining until final individual health insurance reform laws take effect, Maryland is one of only five states that does not have a short term medical insurance plan available to bridge the gap until affordable basic health insurance becomes available to everyone. Short term medical insurance is popular basic coverage because it is exempt from the restrictions of health reform law and therefore priced less than half of the rate of a plan that includes all state and federally mandated coverage. The lack of short term coverage in the state has boosted medical insurance tourism among those who need immediate coverage for 2012. A policy purchased while residing outside the state provides valid coverage nationwide including within Maryland.

6/15/2011 UnitedHealthcare's Golden Rule Insurance Company will no longer offer Short Term Medical plans to new customers in Maryland as of June 16, 2011. This change does not affect existing customers in the state who have Golden Rule's Short Term Medical coverage. Regular renewable individual major medical insurance continues to be available. Alternative short term major medical insurance products are available in Maryland from Markel Insurance Company and Standard Security Life Insurance.

2/17/2011 Maryland was granted more than $6 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to build off a prototype that models the point of access for the insurance exchange. The technology foundation used by Maryland in its Healthy Maryland initiative is currently being used by several other states. This “point” solution will extend the existing Healthy Maryland platform.

1/19/2011 Child-only health insurance for children with significant medical problems will be available through an open enrollment period mandated by federal state law during the month of July. All children, regardless of medical condition, continue to be eligible for insurance when applying as a dependent on a parent’s policy and healthy children are eligible for child-only insurance at any time. When applying for child-only insurance for more than one child, make a separate application for each child.

12/16/2010 Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said that it would: 1) Utilize the previously established Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council to outline issues pertaining to: engaging the public, gathering and analyzing public comment, conducting focused research, and developing options for consideration by the Coordinating Council, 2) Create an information infrastructure plan that assesses existing information systems, identifies gaps and needs, and proposes strategies to achieve seamless eligibility and enrollment in health coverage, 3) Develop an outreach and communications strategy for 2011-2014, including market research to guide the design of the Exchange 4) Fund Maryland-specific studies of public and private health insurance coverage and health care expenditures to determine whether to merge the individual and small group markets and whether to provide additional protection against adverse selection, development of governance options for the successful operation of the Exchange, and development of operational plans and a sustainable business model for the Exchange, 5) Assess current public sector technological capabilities, current private sector technological capabilities and technology solutions that may be available from the federal government, and 6) Determine whether the existing public or private sector capacity could be adapted for online public access to facilitate eligibility determination, choice of coverage, application, enrollment, the specific options for connecting an eligibility determination system with other components of the Exchange, and develop an RFP for eligibility system expansion or acquisition.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Maryland is now available at Freedom Benefits.


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This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.