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DHSS Press Release

Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

DPH Media Contact:
Jennifer Brestel
302-744-4907, Cell 302-612-6223

Date: December 11, 2019


NEW CASTLE (Dec. 11, 2019) - Delawareans have just days left to sign up for or to change their health coverage for 2020 through Delaware's Health Insurance Marketplace, where premiums are down on average 19%. Open enrollment ends on Dec. 15, with coverage for those who enroll by that date and who pay their first premium, beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

State residents can sign up for coverage at or by calling 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). Free, in-person assistance is available through Westside Family Healthcare at 302-472-8655 in New Castle County and 302-678-2205 in Kent and Sussex counties. State-licensed insurance agents and brokers also can help individuals enroll or re-enroll and help employers update their coverage, at no extra charge. For contact information, go to

"Since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we have nearly cut our uninsured population in half in Delaware," Governor John Carney said. "And there's good news this year: Premiums on Delaware's ACA health insurance marketplace are down almost 20 percent, which we hope will encourage more Delawareans to get covered."

Under Delaware's new reinsurance program, a portion of high-cost health care claims that drive up insurance rates for everyone will be reimbursed through a $27 million fund, using a mix of federal funding and assessments collected by the Delaware Department of Insurance from health insurance carriers. With the reinsurance program in place, the sole insurer on Delaware's marketplace reduced premiums for 2020 on average by 19%.

As of Dec. 7, a total of 10,196 Delawareans had signed up for 2020 coverage through the marketplace, a decrease of about 1.7% from a similar period last year. For 2019, a total of 22,562 people enrolled for coverage, including more than half who signed up for or renewed their coverage in the final week of open enrollment. "We urge Delawareans who need coverage through the health insurance marketplace to take action now to enroll. The December 15th deadline will not be extended," said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. "As a physician, I see the difference that having access to insurance and a connection to care makes for so many people."

Consumers can go to to shop for coverage for 2020, compare plans and enroll before midnight Sunday, Dec. 15. Individuals who need help enrolling can receive free in-person assistance from federally funded and trained specialists at several Delaware organizations, including Westside Family Healthcare, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center in Wilmington and La Red Health Center in Georgetown.

Westside Family Healthcare is hosting drop-in enrollment sessions through Sunday. The schedule:

Dover Health Center, 1020 Forrest Ave., Dover

Bear/New Castle Health Center, 404 Fox Hunt Drive, Bear (near the Bear Post Office)

Fourth Street Wilmington Health Center, 1802 W. Fourth St., Wilmington

To speed up the shopping and enrollment process, Delawareans are asked to bring these documents or information with them:

About 85 percent of those enrolled on Delaware's marketplace for 2019 received tax credits to help pay their monthly premiums. For those eligible for financial assistance, the average premium after tax credits in 2019 was $110 per month. This year, financial help is available to individuals with an annual household income up to $49.960 and up to $103,000 for a family of four. The threshold changes based on the number of people in the household.

"Many people don't realize that they may be eligible for tax credits to help pay their monthly premiums," Secretary Walker said. "If you are uncertain about your eligibility based on your annual household income, it's best to contact a local enrollment assister to help walk you through the process and explore your options."

For 2020, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is the only insurer on Delaware's marketplace, offering a total of eight plans for individuals and families - two gold plans, two silver, three bronze and one platinum. The metal categories are based on how enrollees choose to split the costs of care with their insurance company. Bronze plans have low monthly premiums, but higher out-of-pocket costs when you need care; gold plans have high premiums, but lower out-of-pocket costs when you need care.

Two insurers - Delta Dental of Delaware, Inc., and Dominion Dental Services, Inc. - offer a total of 11 stand-alone dental plans, six with a low actuarial level (70 percent) and five with a high actuarial level (85 percent).

In addition to the health insurance marketplace, some Delawareans might be eligible for coverage through Delaware's expanded Medicaid program, which is open year-round. More than 10,000 Delawareans have received coverage under the Medicaid expansion. To be screened for eligibility or to apply for Medicaid benefits, go to Delaware ASSIST.

After open enrollment ends Dec. 15, Delawareans can enroll in coverage only if they experience a life event that qualifies them for a special enrollment period. Among the many qualifying life events are birth or adoption of a child, a permanent move, loss of other coverage through your job, and marriage or divorce.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.