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Thousands use Pa.’s new ‘Pennie’ exchange to sign up for health insurance as first deadline nears

Thousands use Pa.’s new ‘Pennie’ exchange to sign up for health insurance as first deadline nears

December 15 is the first deadline to register for health insurance using the state-run online marketplace in Pennsylvania called "Pennie."

People who sign up by then will be covered starting January 1. However, the extended deadline will allow people to register until January 15, although their coverage won't start until February 1.

Pennie is the state-run marketplace or exchange that replaces the federally-run marketplace that is part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Low- and middle-income individuals can use Pennie to purchase individual and family health coverage. About 80% of people qualify for government installment benefits and some others qualify for cost assistance such as copays. Pennie calculates the level they qualify for and links them to benefits.

Simply put, Pennie is the place to go for coverage if you don't have coverage from another source. If you don't have an employer offering coverage or if you lose it. If you don't qualify for Medicare or assistance, said state insurance commissioner Jessica Altman. Doctor, the Penny is the place to go.

People can find more information at They can also contact state-approved seafarers' advice by calling 1-844-844-8040.

Pennsylvania lawmakers unanimously approved the state swap after concluding that it would save millions that could be set aside to lower health insurance premiums and also allow the state to improve coverage. Penny is also open for a longer period than the Federal Exchange. Pennsylvania is now among dozens of states that operate their own exchange.

Allman said this week that Benny came out Nov. 1 with no major errors and was doing well. She said about 300,000 people had signed up for coverage by the end of this week, similar to how often Pennsylvanians use the federal exchange.

The coverage available through Pennie comes from the state's top health insurers, including Blue Cross-Blue Shied plans, among others.

US Senator Bob Casey warned people this week to be sure to shop on the Penny Exchange. He said Internet searches could lead to fraudulent sellers of "unwanted coverage" who lack the guaranteed protections included in Affordable Care Act plans, such as pregnancy care, childbirth coverage, prescription drugs. , mental health coverage and addiction treatment.

Altmann said that new premiums are down an average of 3.3% compared to 2020 rates.

For people who previously purchased coverage through the Federal Reserve, their information was transferred to Penny, authorities said. They stressed that even if someone is satisfied with their coverage, they must log into Pennie to renew for 2021.

Surplus sold at Pennie is for people whose income or their families' income is above 138% of the federal poverty level. Coverage is available to people who earn less through Medicaid, also known as Medicaid.

Altman said that if someone came to Pennie and turned out to be eligible for Medicaid, the "No wrong door" feature would send them to the system that enrolls them in Medicaid.