lehighValleyEvent_1-9-16If you have clients and/or know healthcare consumers near Allentown who need health insurance, please be aware that this Saturday, an insurance enrollment event is being held at the Allentown Public Library. The event is FREE  and open to the public, from 10:00am to 3:30 pm.  Consumers can receive in-person assistance with exploring insurance options, estimating tax credits, and enrolling in Medicaid or health insurance offered through the health insurance Marketplace.

Walk-ins are welcome, or individuals can schedule an appointment at:

This event is made possible by the extraordinary partnership and organizing efforts of: Pennsylvania Health Access Network; Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley; Planned Parenthood, Enroll America; 484 Beyond; Sacred Heart Healthcare System; Advocacy Alliance; Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers; Cities of Bethlehem and Allentown; Allentown Public Library; Allentown Health Bureau; Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania; and Northampton Community College.


A Quick Guide to the Marketplace: Dates & Deadlines

Here are the most important dates for 2015 coverage:

December 31, 2014: Date when all 2014 Marketplace coverage ended, no matter when you enrolled

January 1, 2015: The date 2015 coverage can start if you enrolled by December 15, 2014, or if you accepted automatic enrollment in your 2014 plan or a similar plan

February 15, 2015: The last day to enroll in 2015 coverage. If you miss this deadline, you can’t sign up for a health plan inside or outside the Marketplace for the rest of 2015. The only exception is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Medicaid, CHIP, and SHOP – apply any time

You can contact the Advocacy Alliance’s Certified Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator by calling Toll Free 1-855-274-5626

Get to Know the Facts About the Health Insurance Marketplace

14 facts about the Health Insurance Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace makes it easier to find quality, affordable coverage. Millions of Americans have already gotten coverage, many for the first time.

Here are 14 things you should know about the Marketplace:

  1. No matter what state you live in, you can use the Marketplace. Some states operate their own Marketplace, and in other states the Marketplace is run by the federal government. You can sign up for 2015 Marketplace coverage as soon as November 15, 2014.
  2. Health insurance plans offered through the Marketplace are run by private companies.
  3. Every health plan in the Marketplace offers the same set of essential health benefits, including doctor visits, preventive care, hospitalization, prescriptions, and more.
  4. You can compare your options in the Marketplace and see what your premium, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs will be before you make a decision to enroll.
  5. After you fill out a Marketplace application you’ll learn if you’re eligible for lower costs on your monthly premiums. Most people who apply for health coverage through the Marketplace will qualify for some kind of savings.
  6. You can apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through the Marketplace any time of year. These programs provide free or low-cost coverage to millions of Americans with limited incomes, disabilities, and certain family situations.
  7. If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you may apply for health coverage through the Marketplace outside the Open Enrollment Period.
  8. Insurance plans offered through the Marketplace can’t deny you coverage because of pre-existing conditions like cancer or diabetes, and they can’t charge women and men different premiums.
  9. In the Marketplace, you generally can get dental coverage as part of a health plan or by itself through a separate, stand-alone dental plan.
  10. You must report certain qualifying life changes to the Marketplace, such as if you get married or divorced, have a child or adopt a child, or have a change in your income. After you report life changes to the Marketplace, you’ll get a new eligibility notice that will explain if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and lower costs.
  11. Members of federally recognized tribes and Alaska Natives can enroll in Marketplace coverage any time of year, and they can change plans as often as once a month.
  12. If you have an income-generating business with no employees, you’re considered self-employed and can get coverage through the Marketplace.
  13. Even if you have access to a student health plan, you can choose to buy a health plan through the Marketplace instead. You may qualify for lower costs based on your income.
  14. If you don’t agree with a decision the Health Insurance Marketplace makes, like whether you’re eligible to buy a plan or whether you’re eligible for lower costs based on your income, you may be able to appeal the decision.

Shared from the Blog posted September 24, 2014

Penn State Extension and Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health resources help consumers navigate Health Insurance Marketplace

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On November 15, 2014, residents of Pennsylvania who are without health insurance will have the 5245 WebFlyerHeathcareGOVopportunity to enroll in a health care plan through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

Created under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Marketplace is a resource where individuals, families, and small businesses can learn about their health coverage options; compare health insurance plans based on costs, benefits, and other important features; choose a plan; and enroll in coverage.

The Marketplace also provides information on programs that help people with low to moderate income and resources pay for coverage. This includes ways to save on the monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs of coverage available through the Marketplace, and information about other programs, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The Health Insurance Marketplace is a unique opportunity for previously uninsured consumers, small businesses, and others to shop for health insurance and compare plans at one location. The next enrollment period runs from November 15, 2104 to February 15, 2015, with coverage beginning as early as January 1, 2015.

To assist consumers in using the Health Insurance Marketplace, Penn State Extension and the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health have launched a website, “Health Insurance and You” ( designed to be a one-stop resource for information on the Marketplace, the benefits of health insurance, a county-by-county listing of “patient navigators,” and other resources.  The website can be accessed at

The website provides extensive resources that are just a keystroke or phone call away for Pennsylvania shoppers who want to do their homework before deciding which policy to buy, according to consumer-issues specialist Cathy Bowen, professor of agricultural and extension education in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

“We have consolidated many of the key reliable resources for consumers in a no-frills format,” she said, noting that most of the references are from the federal government and nonprofit agencies and are designed to provide unbiased information. Added Lisa Davis, director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and outreach associate professor of health policy and administration at Penn State, “Those who are eligible to get their health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace need to have a good understanding of the basics of health insurance and how to apply for benefits. These webinars will give the information needed to get enrolled or resources for more information.”

As an additional resource, three one-hour webinars are planned that will focus on the specifics of the Health Insurance Marketplace, enrollment, and local resources for consumers interested in health insurance. The webinars are planned for noon on October 31, November 14, and December 5. To register for one of the webinars, go to

Editors:  For more information, contact Cathy Bowen at 814-863-7870 or; Lisa Davis, Director, Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, at 814-863-8214 or; or Walt Whitmer, Senior Extension Associate, at 814-865-0468 or