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As pandemic rages on, Governor Wolf wants Pennsylvanians to buy health insurance

As pandemic rages on, Governor Wolf wants Pennsylvanians to buy health insurance

Governor Tom Wolf wants Pennsylvanians who do not have health care or are struggling to afford it, to enroll in the state administered insurance market – Pennie – before the deadline for registration open January 15 at midnight.

“When everyone has access to health insurance, it’s a good thing for everyone in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said at a press conference outside of Pittsburgh on Wednesday. “It helps us all. “

Some 360,000 residents have purchased health insurance through Pennie, which was launched last year. It’s not an insurance company – plans are available elsewhere – but Pennie is the link to “grants available to offset the cost of monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses,” said Zach Sherman, executive director of Pennie.

More than 90% of Pennie users receive financial aid, worth an average of $ 450 per month, Sherman said.

The program has the potential to benefit many more Pennsylvanians, and they can count on its longevity, said State Representative Dan Frankel, Democratic chair of the House Health Committee.

“At a time when there is tremendous partisanship on public health and health care issues, there was a bipartisan agreement that made it happen,” Frankel said. “That’s why people should feel comfortable signing up for this. “

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic helped spur Pennie’s creation, and Wolf said he and his staff were closely monitoring the latest Commonwealth wave.

“The concern right now is with hospitals,” he said, referring to efforts that would prevent health systems from being overwhelmed. The state has called on the federal government to send emergency aid teams to stressed hospitals. “[FEMA] sent two, we asked for more, ”and assigned them to Scranton and York.

Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard also work in long-term care facilities, and Wolf said the administration, the Department of Health and the legislature “are working together to try to figure out what more we can do. to help the health care system. . “However, he has made no commitment to another declaration of emergency or other specific actions to respond to the significant increase in cases.

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