PENNSYLVANIA, USA — If you're looking to buy health insurance through the State for next year, you will soon have to shop for it a new way as Pennsylvania is transitioning away from using healthcare.gov.
The website is called "Pennie," which is derived from the words "Pennsylvania" and "insurance exchange."
"The idea was better service, better access," Zach Sherman, Executive Director of Pennie, said. "Pennsylvanians were spending a lot of money using healthcare.gov. Our overarching goal is to make sure people get covered."
To get started, folks can go to pennie.com and click "get covered" in the top right corner. Keep in mind you won't be able to get past the next screen until November 1st. Then it will bring you to a page where you can shop, compare plans, see if you qualify, and apply for coverage.
"We really urge people to take a look at all the different scenarios to make sure that they are finding the right plan for their health care needs, and their costs, and their financial budget," Sherman said.
There will be three options:
1.) Browse for health & dental plans which is for those who want to shop anonymously and/or create an account.
2.) Register with access code which is for those who already have healthcare.gov account.
3.) Log in to existing account which is for those who are current Pennie users.
People will also have access to certified brokers, assisters, and a customer service center. If you currently have health insurance through healthcare.gov, And don't plan on making any changes to your coverage, you don't have to do anything. Your previous plan will carry over.
Pennie also has a dedicated call center which you can call for help. That number is 844-844-8040.
"We also know that this can be complicated, it can be confusing, it can be a little bit overwhelming," Sherman said. "So we're here to help. We have no-cost resources to help with that."
Open enrollment begins November 1st and runs through January 15th. Those who currently have health insurance through healthcare.gov should be receiving an email sometime this week regarding the transition.