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Uninsured Northwestern Pennsylvania residents who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid now have the opportunity for the 10th year in a row to purchase health insurance through the federal government’s Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Erie County residents can choose from 96 different insurance plans for coverage in 2023, while Crawford County residents can choose from 51 plans. They are available from Highmark, UPMC, and United Healthcare.
The plans aren’t free, but nine out of 10 people get subsidies, which have been extended until 2025 by the government’s Inflation Reduction Act. These subsidies reduce monthly plan costs to less than $75 for 40% of Pennsylvania subscribers.
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Am I eligible for an ACA plan?
You are eligible for health insurance through the ACA if you are a US citizen, not incarcerated, and not eligible for Medicare.
Individuals or families who qualify for health insurance through an employer can still purchase an ACA plan, but are not eligible for any subsidies if coverage is considered affordable — less than 9.2 percent of household income.
During the enrollment process, if you are found to be eligible for Medicaid, you will be directed to enroll in that state program instead of an ACA plan.
How do I enroll in an ACA plan?
In Pennsylvania, people can enroll in an ACA plan by visiting penny.com. This is a website created by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance in 2020 to enroll residents in ACA plans.
People can also call 844-844-8040 to speak with one of Pennie’s customer service representatives.
Before running your app, you’ll need the following items:
- Photo ID
- Social Security Card Number
- Four weeks salary
- Latest tax return
- Immigration documents, if any
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Which health plan should I choose?
The health plan you choose depends on several factors, including the cost of the monthly premium, your out-of-pocket amounts, and the doctors, hospitals and prescription drugs included.
ACA plans are grouped into four main categories:
- Platinum (highest premiums, lowest deductibles)
- Gold (higher premiums, lower deductibles)
- Silver (lower premiums, higher deductibles)
- Bronze (lowest premiums, highest deductibles)
You can compare plans without submitting your personal information, but you’ll need to submit it to choose a plan. You should have a list of your prescription drugs and your doctors when comparing plans.
The site will give you a cost estimate of how much you can expect to pay for the year if you choose that particular plan.
“We encourage consumers to research and compare plans to find coverage that best fits their needs and provides solid benefits for them and their families,” Michael Humphreys, Pennsylvania’s acting insurance commissioner, said in a news release.
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When is the deadline for choosing a plan?
The deadline to choose an ACA plan for 2023 is January 15, but if you want coverage starting January 1, you must choose a plan by December 15.
People who experience a “qualifying life event” can choose a plan at another time of the year. These events include losing your existing health coverage, divorce, moving, or a change in income that affects the coverage you qualify for.