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2021 Health Insurance Rates Released

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange

BALTIMORE (September 15, 2020)—Statement from Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, on the new rates approved by the Maryland Insurance Administration for health insurance plans for 2021 on the individual market in Maryland:

“With health care at the forefront of all of our minds, I am so pleased that rates have fallen on Maryland Health Connection for a third year in a row. That is rare around the country and a great benefit to Marylanders who buy their own health insurance, whether on or off the state’s health exchange. Thank you to Insurance Commissioner Birrane and her staff. With our partner insurance carriers, we look forward to a very successful open enrollment in November and December.”


Maryland Health Benefit Exchange: (MHBE) (www.marylandhbe.

com) is a public corporation and independent unit of the state government. It was established in 2011 in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) and is responsible for the administration of Maryland Health Connection.

Maryland Health Connection ( One of every six Marylanders receive their health coverage through Maryland Health Connection (MHC), the state-based health insurance marketplace. Residents can compare and enroll in health insurance as well as determine eligibility for Medicaid or financial help with private plans.



Maryland Department of Health Launches Virtual Live Diabetes Education Series

Maryland Department of Health

Baltimore (September 16, 2020)— The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today launched an eight-part diabetes education series for health care providers and residents with diabetes or at risk of diabetes. The webinar series, developed by MDH’s Center for Population Health Initiatives, is part of Maryland’s Diabetes Action Plan and is another tool aimed at preventing and managing diabetes in Maryland.

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in Maryland and places individuals at higher risk of complications, including death from COVID-19.

“We continue to move forward with our commitment to reducing the prevalence of diabetes in Maryland, using the strategies outlined in the Diabetes Action Plan,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “This is a priority, which has become even more urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the impact of the disease on people with diabetes.”

The “Diabetes Education for Better Health” series brings to fruition one of the commitments outlined in the Diabetes Action Plan that was released in November 2019 in conjunction with National Diabetes Month. The series, which is free and open to all, is offered in three tracts. The three-part “A Path to Better Health for Individuals” kicks off Sept. 16. The two other tracts are “Solutions for Better Diabetes Outcomes—Community Health Workers” and “Solutions for Better Diabetes Outcomes—Clinicians.”

“Our Center for Population Health Initiatives team has created an outstanding educational resource for use during the pandemic,” said Dr. Jinlene Chan, Acting Deputy Secretary of MDH’s Public Health Administration. “We are working diligently to reach out to populations that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and at greater risk for poor outcomes if infected.”

Community Health Workers, one of the groups to which the series is aimed, work directly in the community to help prevent and reduce diabetes through patient support and by referring and connecting patients to Maryland’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DDP). The DPP is an evidence-based lifestyle change program designed to help participants avoid developing type 2 diabetes, which is preventable. About 95 percent of those with diabetes in the United States have type 2.

The virtual educational series will be offered live online, covering various aspects of diabetes care, education, prevention, management and related resources. Recordings will be available online for later viewing as well.

To register for one or more of the sessions, visit Diabetes Education for Better Health.

To read MDH’s Diabetes Action Plan, go to


The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement. Follow us on Twitter @MDHealthDept and at



Would Your Child’s Safety Seat Pass Inspection?
National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 20–26

AAA Mid-Atlantic

Child Passenger Safety Statistics

Every 32 seconds in 2018, one child under the age of 13 riding in a passenger vehicle was involved in a crash.

From 2014 to 2018, there were 3,315 children under 13 killed while riding in passenger vehicles.

On average, nearly two children under 13 were killed every day in 2018 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans.

In 2018, approximately one-third (33%) of children under 13 killed in passenger vehicles were not restrained in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts.

Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)

WASHINGTON (September 17, 2020)––Every day in America, too many children ride in car seats that have been installed incorrectly, or are riding in the wrong car seats for their ages and sizes. Child restraint systems are often used incorrectly, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An estimated 46% of car seats and booster seats (59% of car seats and 20% of booster seats) are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness. Even worse, some children ride while completely unbuckled.

During National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 20-26, AAA Mid-Atlantic urges parents to review car seat laws, be sure children are in the proper child seat or booster for their age and size, avoid common mistakes, and seek expert assistance with car seat installation.

“Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children,” said John B. Townsend II, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Using car seats that are age- and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your children safe. Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can make all the difference.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement on “Child Passenger Safety” advises parents to keep their children’s car seats in the rear-facing position for as long as possible. Previously, the AAP recommended rear-facing car seats up until the age of two.

Parents and caregivers should know the child passenger laws in the state they live in and, if traveling, any states that they may travel through, explain AAA Mid-Atlantic.

In Washington, D.C., “DC law requires that any child up to 16 years of age must be in a properly installed child safety seat or restrained in a seat belt. Children under 8 years of age must be properly seated in an installed infant, convertible (toddler) or booster child seat,” according to the Metropolitan Police Department website. In a first time offense, an offender is given a choice of a $75 fine or a child restraint safety class ($25 fee).

Maryland’s Child Passenger Safety Law states, “A person transporting a child under the age of 8 years in a motor vehicle shall secure the child in a child safety seat in accordance with the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions unless the child is 4 feet, 9 inches tall or taller.” In addition, “Every child from 8 to 16 years old who is not secured in a child restraint must be secured in the vehicle’s seat belt, in every seating position in the vehicle.” The fine in Maryland is $50.

In Virginia, children ages 8 until 18 must be secured in a child restraint, booster seat, or safety belt regardless of seating position. Children under age 8 must be secured in a child restraint or booster seat, as appropriate. As of July 1, 2019, Virginia law requires children to remain rear-facing until “(i) the child reaches two years of age or (ii) the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing child restraint device as prescribed by the manufacturer of the device.” The fine for a first violation in Virginia is $50.


Seven Common Car Seat Mistakes

Not using a safety seat. Whether an infant, toddler or booster seat-age child, parents should always use the appropriate child restraint system every time their children are in a vehicle.

Not reading safety seat instructions. Three out of four child safety seats are installed incorrectly according to NHTSA. With thousands of combinations of child safety seats and vehicle belt systems, it’s important for parents to read both the vehicle owner’s manual and the child safety seat instructions before installing a seat.

Using restraints for older children too soon. Parents frequently advance their children into the stage of safety restraints too soon. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) car seat recommendations advises parents to keep their children’s car seats in the rear-facing position for as long as possible. Infants should remain rear-facing until they reach the upper weight limit of their rear-facing car seat. All children under age 13 should be placed in the back seat.

Installing safety seats too loosely. When a child safety seat is properly installed, it should not move more than one inch in any direction. Parents should use either the vehicle’s seat belt or LATCH system to secure the safety seat—but not both, unless approved by the vehicle and car seat manufacturers. If using a seat belt, make sure it is locked to hold the seat snugly in place.

Adjusting seat harnesses incorrectly. Safety seat harnesses should always be snug and lie flat without twists. Harnesses should be at or below the child’s shoulders when rear-facing and at or above the shoulders when forward-facing in order to hold the child’s body upright and against the seat. The chest clip should be positioned at armpit level.

Gadgetry: If it didn’t come with the seat (or wasn’t purchased from the manufacturer to use with the seat), it wasn’t crash-tested with the seat. It therefore cannot be guaranteed to be safe and should not be used. This includes strap covers, mirrors and toys.

Not replacing seats after a crash or using one without knowing its history: Check your manual to see if the seat should be replaced even after a minor fender-bender and even if no child was in the seat at the time. Also, never buy a used car seat, and never accept a free used one unless you’re sure that it’s never been in a crash. Even if it looks OK, there may be damages that aren’t visible. It is safer to buy a cheap, new seat than a high-end used seat. All seats pass the same pass/fail crash tests.

Remember to register your car seat or booster seat with the seat manufacturer so you can be notified in the event of a recall. Parents and caregivers can view more information on car seat safety and locate a certified technician at The Maryland Department of Health’s Kids In Safety Seats (KISS) program is offering Video Car Seat Assistance. Registration is available at the department’s website.



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