Reading, PA – Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman today joined Berks County legislators state Sen. Judy Schwank (D-11th dist.) and state Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-126th dist.) at an Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment event this week in Muhlenberg Township to remind Pennsylvanians that the deadline to enroll in 2019 individual health insurance plans is fast approaching.
Participants who attended the event at the Muhlenberg Township Building received assistance on signing up for ACA health insurance from marketplace navigators and insurers.
The deadline to enroll is Dec. 15. Once again, the open enrollment period is just six weeks long.
“This is the only time of year that consumers can enroll or re-enroll in the marketplace or in an off-exchange plan to obtain comprehensive health coverage under the ACA. After Dec. 15, consumers must wait until next November to enroll unless they experience a certain life event,” Altman said. “Forgoing health insurance is a significant risk, even for healthy individuals. We are all just one diagnosis or accident away from needing costly medical care. These plans provide comprehensive health care and are required to cover essential health benefits, so I urge folks to explore their coverage options and shop around for comprehensive coverage under the ACA.”
“Health care is critically important for all Pennsylvanians, and I hope this event provided citizens of Reading and Berks County with the expertise they needed to make an informed decision,” Schwank said. “The window is closing but there is still time to enroll.”
“Everyone deserves access to affordable health care coverage. I’m glad we were able to bring these resources to our community and make it easier for folks to navigate what can seem like a daunting process,” Rozzi said. “There are a couple of days left before the enrollment deadline. I urge anyone who has not enrolled to take time to shop for a plan that will best suit their needs.”
Information on the various plans available in Pennsylvania and where to seek enrollment assistance are available at www.insurance.pa.gov. 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.
“Many Pennsylvanians qualify for a subsidy to offset their monthly premium. Also, assistance is available to help individuals sign up for coverage,” Altman said. “Our department is ready to answer consumers’ questions and concerns, and guide them to the right resources.”
The Insurance Department, in partnership with other state agencies, consumer advocacy organizations, insurers, hospitals, libraries and academia, also 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.
As consumers look for insurance they should be careful of where they shop for health insurance. Some companies and agents are offering plans they say are compliant with the ACA, but which are not. The federal marketplace’s website ends in “.gov,” so consumers not shopping on Healthcare.gov are not shopping on the federal marketplace.
In addition, consumers buying an off-exchange plan directly from a company should make sure they are on an official website for one of Pennsylvania’s six insurers offering individual health insurance: Capital Blue Cross, Geisinger, Highmark, Independence Blue Cross, UPMC Health Plan and Ambetter/PA Health and Wellness (Centene).
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.