Harrisburg, PA – Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman is reminding Pennsylvanians that open enrollment for 2020 individual health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) runs from November 1 through December 15.
"The 2020 open enrollment period will provide many consumers with more options for comprehensive health coverage under the ACA," Altman said. "It is critical for those who rely on the exchange for coverage to research their options, shop around and know the difference between comprehensive and non-comprehensive plans.
"Every year I hear from people who did not believe they would qualify for financial assistance on the marketplace only to find out they do when they explore their options. Any Pennsylvanian without comprehensive health insurance, including the 5.5 percent who, unfortunately, remain uninsured, should check what is available in their area as they may be surprised by the impact financial assistance programs can have on their premiums."
Financial assistance is available for Pennsylvanians who shop on the marketplace at healthcare.gov. Depending on the income of their household, many consumers qualify for subsidies to reduce their monthly premiums and some also qualify for assistance that lowers their out-of-pocket costs like co-pays and deductibles. About 80% of Pennsylvanians enrolled through the marketplace receive financial assistance.
Consumers should be careful of where they shop for health insurance. Some companies and agents are offering plans they say are ACA-compliant, however many consumers, after expensive medical bills, find out later they are not. For example, short-term limited duration insurance plans don't offer the same comprehensive coverage as ACA-compliant plans. Consumers are urged to understand the differences when shopping for health insurance.
Information on the various ACA-compliant plans available in Pennsylvania and where to seek enrollment assistance are available at www.insurance.pa.gov/4HealthIns. Consumers may also visit Consumers' Checkbook at https://pa.checkbookhealth.org to view plan options, estimate monthly premiums and total annual out-of-pocket costs for each plan, and learn how to buy a plan.
Checkbook also includes information on ACA-compliant plans sold outside of the exchange, which may be a good option for consumers who know they do not qualify for financial assistance. Consumers buying an off-exchange plan directly from a company should make sure they are on an official website for one of Pennsylvania's seven insurers offering individual health insurance: Capital Blue Cross, Pennsylvania Health & Wellness, Geisinger, Highmark, Independence Blue Cross, Oscar Health and UPMC Health Plan.
In addition to those resources, the Insurance Department, in partnership with other state agencies, consumer advocacy organizations, insurers, hospitals, libraries and academia, created a series of short videos on "Health Insurance Literacy" detailing the important aspects of buying and using health insurance at www.insurance.pa.gov/literacy.
Consumers shopping at Healthcare.gov can also determine if they qualify for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If they or their beneficiaries qualify, they will be automatically redirected to the Department of Human Services' COMPASS website to complete their application.
For more information on Medicaid and CHIP, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.
For more information on health insurance or to contact the Insurance Department's Bureau of Consumer Services, visit www.insurance.pa.gov or call 1-877-881-6388.
MEDIA CONTACT: Thaisa Jones, email@example.com, 717-214-4781