Did you know uninsured and underinsured Pennsylvanians who want to purchase health insurance coverage through the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Marketplace now have another three months to do so?

Following President Biden’s recent Executive Order and the increasing number of individuals who are either underinsured or have lost their employee-sponsored health insurance coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania’s Health Insurance Marketplace, Pennie, has extended its enrollment period from February 15 — through May 15, which will allow you to sign up for coverage for yourself and your family. This is a special enrollment period and is open to all eligible Pennsylvania residents regardless of COVID-19 status.

Pennie customers enrolling through the COVID-19 enrollment period will have coverage beginning the first of the following month. For example, if a customer enrolls on February 28, coverage will start on March 1 and if they enroll on March 28, coverage will start on April 1. Customers are strongly encouraged to enroll as early in the month as possible to ensure timely processing. The latest effective date associated with this enrollment period will be July 1, 2021.

UPMCThere are many health insurance providers in the Marketplace to choose from – including UPMC Health Plan, which offers several options to keep you and your family protected and safe. Their award-winning concierge member service representatives are available to help answer any questions related to this special enrollment period. You can reach them at 1-877-563-0292 (TTY: 711) to speak with a specialist who can walk you through your coverage options. You can also enroll online at upmchealthplan.com/marketplace.

The health of all Pennsylvanians and their families is a very high priority during the pandemic, and access to health insurance is critical. Even if you are not experiencing any health-related emergencies due to COVID-19, you should consider signing up for a health insurance provider during this special enrollment period for several reasons.

Although Pennsylvania unemployment numbers have continued to fall for the eighth consecutive month, there are still a large number of people who are unemployed. During this time, it is important to manage your health care and take advantage of membership benefits like having access to telehealth to better manage behavioral health and chronic conditions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth visits are becoming increasingly popular because they allow members and providers to adhere to recommended social distancing guidelines through the use of mobile apps, websites, and videoconferencing platforms.

UPMCGetting Enrolled

Signing up for health care coverage through the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Marketplace is easy and only takes a few simple steps. After searching and comparing the high-quality health coverage plans available through Pennie, you will need to get enrolled. But before you start the enrollment process, make sure you have the following documents handy: Photo ID(s) such as a driver’s license or passport, Social Security numbers for each enrollee, pay stubs from the last four weeks, immigration documents if applicable, and your most recent tax return(s).

UPMCCompare Plans and Apply

Once enrolled, you are now ready to shop and compare plans to find the best price and coverage options for yourself and your family. Pennie offers a plan comparison tool that helps you determine if you are eligible for free or low-cost health insurance and helps identify the right health insurance plan for you. In addition, the comparison tool can let you know if your prescriptions are covered under the plan. There are a few additional things you should consider as you review and compare the costs associated with the plans. These include:

  • The monthly premium or payment. And remember that the lowest cost is not always the best comprehensive plan overall.
  • Your copays, deductibles, coinsurance, and maximum out-of-pocket limits.
  • Most comprehensive health insurance plans typically provide coverage for medically necessary treatment. It’s a good idea to check with your health insurance’s list of providers and hospitals and try to go to a hospital within their network when seeking treatment.
  • As it relates to COVID-19 diagnostic testing and treatment, once you have enrolled and paid your first month’s premium, contact your insurance provider to make sure your lab or testing site is in-network, and check to see what provisions are in place for out-of-network testing.

Pay Your Premium

Once you’ve enrolled and selected your health coverage plan, you have the option of paying the first month’s premium directly online, before the policy effective date. Your coverage cannot begin until you pay the first month’s premium.

Remember, you only have a limited time to take advantage and enroll in a health coverage plan during this special enrollment period. Don’t delay! After May 15, 2021, you won’t be able to apply until the next regular enrollment period in the fall. If you are interested in learning more information about COVID-19, UPMC Health Plan maintains up-to-date and trustworthy information, including FAQs, vaccine updates, and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.