By Pat Loeb
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Now that Pennsylvania’s modified Medicaid expansion has taken effect, state officials say more than 100,000 new recipients have enrolled.
The program, called “Healthy PA,” is likely to be short-lived now that Gov. Corbett, its champion, has lost his reëlection bid, but low-income residents are still being encouraged to sign up for it.
A full year in the making, Healthy PA is unlikely to survive far beyond its first month. Governor-elect Tom Wolf has said he intends to replace it with a straight Medicaid expansion.
But, in the meantime, Healthy PA offers coverage to the estimated 600,000 low-income people who last year fell in the gap between Medicaid eligibility and subsidies for affordable-care plans under Obamacare.
Pennsylvania Welfare Department spokeswoman Kate Gillis says there’s no reason to wait to get health insurance coverage.
“We are really excited that the interest level is high and people are ready to get insurance,” she tells KYW Newsradio.
Unlike so-called marketplace plans under the Affordable Care Act, there’s no deadline to sign up under Healthy PA. But Neil Deegan of Enroll America, a nonprofit organization that works toward universal health care participation, nevertheless recommends signing up by the marketplace deadline of February 15th — “because folks may not be sure whether they’re income qualifies them for traditional Medicaid or Healthy PA or marketplace coverage.”
He says enrollment help is available through the web site “Get Covered America.”