The following is from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

Dear Stakeholders,

With open enrollment starting for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid eligibility changes going into effect, October 1st is a big day for the Department of Public Welfare (DPW).  [DPW wants] to take this opportunity to give you an update on the ACA in case you have questions about what happens on October 1st.

We Are Ready
Staff in the County Assistance Offices and throughout DPW have attended many trainings over the last month and are ready for the changes to Medicaid eligibility.  Additionally, the computer system changes were successfully loaded and validated this past weekend.  This means, on October 1st, Pennsylvania will be compliant with these pieces of the federal  ACA law. 

Applying for Health Insurance  Coverage
In Pennsylvania, individuals seeking health insurance coverage may apply through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM), also known as the Exchange.  The Exchange is scheduled to be operational on October 1, 2013, with the start of open enrollment.  Beginning October 1st, individuals will be able to go onto the Exchange and purchase insurance.  The Exchange will also determine eligibility for the Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) and Cost Sharing Reductions.  To apply through the Exchange, go to healthcare.gov.  Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.  Insurance coverage will begin January 1, 2014 for individuals applying by December 15th.

Low income individuals and families may qualify for Medicaid and can apply through COMPASS.  To take a brief screening tool for Medicaid, click here. It's important to note that there is 'no wrong door' in applying for health insurance coverage.  Individuals can apply through the Exchange or COMPASS to determine which coverage option(s) they qualify for. 

More Information on the ACA
More information on the ACA is available on the DPW website and on the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance website.  For individuals without internet access, they may call the federal hotline at 1-800-318-2596.  For individuals with questions regarding Medicaid, they may call the PA Consumer Service Center at 1-866-550-4355.