August 1, 2012

Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity and professor of Health Services Administration, has been appointed to serve on the Navigator Program Advisory Committee of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board. In this role, Dr. Thomas will assist the state in developing and implementing its Health Benefit Exchange by collecting perspectives from key stakeholders to help insure that the Exchange meets the needs of all Marylanders and reaches culturally diverse and difficult to reach populations.

Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange will expand access to health insurance for 730,000 Marylanders currently without health insurance and provide federal subsidies and tax credits for individuals up to 400% of federal poverty level to pay for health insurance premiums. The navigator program will educate consumers about qualified health plan options and help to facilitate enrollment in appropriate plans. The advisory committee is charged with developing the operational requirements that will enable it to successfully launch the navigator program in 2014.

"In a state as diverse as Maryland - where the combined racial and ethnic minority population is more than 45 percent - providing information in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner will be key to the success of health care reform," says Dr. Thomas.

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