Special open enrollment period for health care coverage now open

TIOGA COUNTY — To help expand health care coverage for Americans, the healthcare marketplace has re-opened for a special open enrollment period through May 15.

This includes the Pennsylvania state health care exchange Pennie.com, which aims to improve affordable health coverage for Pennsylvanians by lowering healthcare costs and plan premiums for both individuals and families.

If you are struggling to find a health plan that’s a good fit for you and your family, want to address a change in your coverage needs, or need help navigating the new Pennsylvania insurance marketplace, the Laurel Health Centers are here to help with free enrollment counseling. You don’t have to be a health center patient to use this free service.

Open enrollment refers to the time period when you can sign up for marketplace healthcare coverage by selecting a health plan for you or your family. Typically, open enrollment begins and ends in the fall, but this year, there is an additional spring enrollment period where PA residents can shop for health insurance plans on Pennie.com.

Key Dates to Know:

• Spring open enrollment for health insurance is open until May 15

• Those already enrolled in a marketplace plan can switch plans during this period

• May 15 is the last day to enroll in marketplace plans on Pennie.com

• Coverage begins on the 1st of the month following your enrollment in a plan (e.g., if you enroll in a plan on March 5, your health plan coverage begins April 1)

* If you lose your health insurance outside of the open enrollment period, you may be eligible for special enrollment

If you need help navigating Pennie.com, choosing a health plan, or determining if you’re eligible for additional financial assistance, Laurel Health counselors are available to support you and make the process less stressful. LHC counselors explain the basics, compare coverage, and empower patients to make informed decisions.

The Laurel Health Centers provide support and enrollment assistance for commercial Pennie.com marketplace plans, Medicaid, and sliding fee programs; for help with Medicare plans, patients should contact their social security office or local Area Agency on Aging office.

Free appointments are available year-round to discuss insurance concerns, and enrollment / application help is available throughout the full open enrollment period.

“We assist patients with understanding and comparing their options for coverage through the new state marketplace and/or insurance affordability programs like Medicaid and CHIP,” explains Carla Westlake, LHC certified application counselor. “Our goal is to help everyone find a health plan that is a good fit. Anyone planning to enroll in health insurance this spring or who is currently uninsured / underinsured and looking for the right affordable coverage is welcome to make an appointment.”

To review available plans, resources, FAQs, programs, and deadlines, visit Pennie.com.

For more information on choosing a plan or to make a free appointment with an LHC application counselor, call 570-723-3424 or visit laurelhc.org.


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