Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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Nashville mourns six dead in the latest mass shooting, the EPA takes public input on a proposal to clean up Pennsylvania's drinking water, and find ways to get more Zzz's during Sleep Awareness Month.

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A shooting leaves six dead at a school in Nashville, the White House commends Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to pause judicial reform, and mayors question the reach of state and federal authorities over local decisions.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

PA Open Enrollment for Health Insurance Begins Nov. 1

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Tuesday, October 25, 2022   

Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians will be shopping for new health insurance plans for next year when open enrollment begins on Nov. 1.

Experts urge consumers to be aware of exactly what they are getting. More 680,000 Pennsylvania residents do not have health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Zachary Sherman, executive director of Pennie.com, the state's online insurance marketplace, said the website is where to start if you are shopping for an individual health plan.

"Pennie is a place for Pennsylvanians who don't have access to job-based coverage or medical assistance, or Medicare," Sherman explained. "It's for those who don't have access to affordable coverage, for them to go to access high-quality, affordable health insurance plans. Very importantly, it's the only place to get savings on coverage to lower your monthly premiums."

The Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress extended the Affordable Care Act's premium subsidies through 2025, so the same subsidy rules in effect this year will continue for 2023. Sherman added if the subsidies had not been extended, Pennsylvanians would be spending about 20% more on their health coverage for next year.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare employer and individual, noted there are some options people may not think about, such as how a plan would handle a significant health event, like a pregnancy or chronic health condition. She added since the pandemic, more people also have recognized the benefits of getting care online.

"Plans that include virtual care services for both medical conditions as well as behavioral health conditions have become very popular," Randall pointed out. "We've seen the utilization of those increase. You're also looking for a plan that has not only virtual health options, but a connection to in-person care as well."

Randall emphasized adding dental, vision or hearing coverage is another consideration, as well as double-checking whether the plan covers the prescriptions you need. In short, she recommends people do their homework, as enrollment dates are fast approaching.

Disclosure: United Healthcare contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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