State announces launch of new health insurance marketplace

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state announced the launch of its new health insurance marketplace on Tuesday, which will take the place of healthcare.gov for coverage next year.

Pennie is the new state-based health insurance marketplace. It’s meant to lower the cost of health insurance coverage for Pennsylvanians.

Open enrollment begins November 1st and it’s been extended in Pennsylvania this year by four weeks to January 15, 2021. That’s when Pennsylvanians can start shopping for health and dental coverage through Pennie, instead of healthcare.gov.

“We’re taking that same money and doing it ourselves and not only running our marketplace and hopefully doing it in a way that’s better for Pennsylvania,” said Jessica Altman, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner.

And they say it’ll be cheaper. There are seven medical insurers offering coverage through Pennie. It will connect Pennsylvanians to financial assistance as well.

“Nearly 9 out of 10 customers who come to us will qualify,” said Zachary Sherman, Pennie Executive Director.

With many losing their jobs in the pandemic and their employer sponsored healthcare, Pennie representatives say they’re ready if more people need coverage this year.

If anyone has questions, there are details online and there’s a call center opening up next month.

Pennie representatives will reach out to anyone making the switch from healthcare.gov and give them a code to claim their account.

“If they don’t come and claim their account, and they’re eligible to renew coverage, all they really need to do to stay covered is to continue to pay their monthly premium,” said Sherman.

The future of Obamacare continues to be debated.

“We have to keep moving our healthcare system forward and fighting to keep it better for the people that rely on it,” said Altman. “We the state are going to take on some of this cost and it’s going to lower your premiums for you.”

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