BALTIMORE (AP) -- Thirteen carriers have been approved to sell health benefit plans to small businesses through the new exchange, Maryland health officials said Tuesday.
The Maryland Insurance Administration also said it had approved premium rates on Tuesday for the plans to be sold through Maryland's Small Business Health Options Program Exchange.
The premium rates approved for 2014 range from 4.9 percent lower to 14.6 percent higher than existing rates for the carriers' small business products, officials said.
The monthly premium for a 40-year-old, non-smoker in a silver plan ranges from $208 to $435 in Maryland. A silver plan pays about 70 percent of the cost of covered services.
Next year, small businesses buying plans through Maryland Health Connection may be eligible for federal tax credits that will lower premium costs. The plans are open to businesses with two to 50 full-time equivalent employees.
Enrollment in the exchange opens Jan. 1, with coverage beginning on or after March 1.
The approved carriers are: Aetna Health Inc.; Aetna Life Insurance Co.; CareFirst BlueChoice Inc.; CareFirst of Maryland Inc.; Coventry Health and Life Co.; Coventry Health Care of Delaware Inc.; Evergreen Health Cooperative; Group Hospitalization and Medical Services Inc.; Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic; MAMSI Life and Health Insurance Co.; Optimum Choice Inc.; UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co.; and UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic Inc.