Primary tabs

Enrollment in Healthy PA begins

Starting this week, thousands of Pennsylvanians in the "coverage gap" can begin enrolling in the new medicaid expansion

In 2013 we asked our GroundSwell advocates to rally behind the medicaid expansion and urge Governor Corbett to take the Federal medicaid expansion. This week Governor Corbett's alternative medicaid plan began open enrollment.

 

To refresh your memory: When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect in 2013 sought to close the gap in health coverage by expanding Medicaid to families who were previously ineligible for coverage because they earned too much. However, the Supreme Court held that states may choose to opt out of this expansion, which Governor Corbett chose to do. Governor Corbett submitted his own plan entitled Healthy PA, which accepted the federal funds but only allowing them to be spent on private insurance plans and not Medicaid.

It is estimated that more than 600,00 Pennsylvanians will gain health coverage under this new program. Individuals and families that earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level will now be eligible for enrollment in Healthy PA. This equates to $16,000 for individuals and $33,000 for a family of four. 

GroundSwell and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance advocated for the expansion of Medicaid because we understand that for artists, this issue is especially crucial. If you are a friend of the arts or an individual artist yourself, you know the challenges many artists face in securing health insurance. Over half of all employment positions in Greater Philadelphia's arts and culture sector are independent contractors, meaning they are ineligible for insurance coverage through their employers. And only 1/5th of all arts positions are full-time, meaning a lot of artists aren't making enough money to afford health insurance on their own.

While this is a step in the right direction, with Governor Corbett leaving office in January, the future of Healthy PA is uncertain as Governor-elect Tom Wolf prefers a straightforward Medicaid expansion. However, Wolf's Medicaid Adviser, former Secretary of the Department of Welfare, Estelle Richman, has stated that "whoever has enrolled, their coverage will not be interrupted."

Individuals seeking insurance under Healthy PA can apply online at www.COMPASS.state.pa.us. To learn more about the program visit www.healthypa.com, call 1-866-550-4355 or stop by your county assistance office. Those who enroll will begin coverage on January 1, 2015.