We’re about one week into the open enrollment period for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and state insurance officials are urging residents to sign up if they haven’t already.

Now until December 15th, residents have the opportunity to sign up for health insurance or make changes to their current health plan through the health insurance marketplace.

"If you’ve ever had an unexplained ache or pain, you know how worrisome that can be. For Pennsylvanians who have been under or uninsured, that worry is multiplied by the fear of financial bankruptcy,” says Governor Tom Wolf.

Thanks to expanded insurance companies operating in the state, only 6 out of the state’s 67 counties offer one insurer option. State officials want to make sure consumers choose a plan that covers essential health benefits like pre-existing conditions, preventive doctors’ visits, maternity and newborn care, and emergencies to name a few. Meanwhile, Governor Wolf says he’s committed to reducing high premium costs.

“I want to make sure that Pennsylvanians are not forced to choose between health insurance and new shoes for their kids, or car repairs, or rent, or mortgage payments,” Governor Wolf says.

Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman insisted residents look into subsidies that would offset their monthly premiums. She encouraged people who don’t get insurance through their employer, or state or federal program, to compare plans on the https://www.healthcare.gov website, or the Consumers’ Checkbook, found here: https://pa.checkbookhealth.org/hie/PA/2018/

“This valuable resource allows consumers to view plan options, estimate monthly premiums, and total annual out-of-pocket costs for each plan, and calculate what subsidy assistance may be available for them and their family,” Commissioner Altman explains.

Next year, Pennsylvania will switch from the federal exchange to a state-based exchange. Lawmakers say a state-based exchange is less-costly to operate, which in turn will lower healthcare costs for residents.