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State Will Help Find Residents Eligible for Health Program

The Maryland comptroller will assist Howard County's effort to contact thousands of residents who lack health insurance but who might qualify for subsidized care based on their income levels.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) is expected to announce today in Baltimore that his office will prepare a mailing to help Howard officials contact an estimated 20,000 lower-income residents.

Howard is readying an ambitious program to provide access to affordable health care to residents without health insurance. The comptroller's letter, inviting those residents to contact the Howard Health Department for assistance, is the first of its kind in Maryland.

The comptroller, said spokeswoman Christine Duray, is "very interested and excited to help Howard County find individuals who might be eligible for affordable health care. We'll see what we can do to make this work."

Howard officials believe thousands of residents, many of them children, are eligible but not enrolled in government-subsidized health-care programs. County Health Officer Peter Beilenson approached Franchot, the state's chief financial officer, whose office handles a variety of tax matters.

Franchot agreed to mail a letter in coming weeks to all Howard residents whose household income amounts to 300 percent or less of federal poverty guidelines. The county Health Department will pay for the mailing.

Beilenson noted that people are not required to answer the letter.

"The response is voluntary," he said. "We're trying to get as complete a list of uninsured people as possible."



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