Health Insurance PA: Your Complete Guide for 2023

Health insurance is crucial for Pennsylvania residents to have access to affordable healthcare. With rising medical costs, having health coverage provides financial protection in case of illness or injury. This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about getting health insurance in Pennsylvania for 2023.

Types of Health Insurance Plans in PA

There are several main types of health plans available in Pennsylvania through employers, the marketplace, Medicare, or Medicaid:

Employer-Sponsored Plans

Many Pennsylvanians get coverage through their job or a family member’s employer. Employers with over 50 full-time employees are required to offer health benefits. Employer plans can be fully or partially funded by the company. Common types are HMOs, PPOs, and HDHPs paired with HSAs.

Individual & Family Plans

These are plans purchased directly from an insurance provider or through Pennsylvania’s health insurance marketplace. All marketplace plans must cover essential health benefits. Tax credits and subsidies may be available for qualifying enrollees.


Medicare provides health coverage for Pennsylvanians over 65 and those with disabilities. Original Medicare includes Part A (hospital care) and Part B (outpatient care). Many enroll in Medicare Advantage for extra benefits. Prescription drug coverage is through Medicare Part D plans.


Medicaid offers free or low-cost care for low-income residents in Pennsylvania. Eligibility is based on household size and income. Medicaid plans have little or no premiums and cover a wide range of services.

Short-Term Insurance

Short-term health plans provide temporary coverage for up to 364 days in PA. They are not ACA-compliant and have exclusions, but offer affordable basic care options.

Enrolling in Health Coverage

Pennsylvanians have several options for obtaining health insurance depending on their situation:

Open Enrollment Period

This yearly period allows enrollment in individual/family plans for the upcoming year. For 2023, open enrollment is November 1, 2022, to January 15, 2023. Outside this time, a qualifying event is required to enroll.

Special Enrollment Period

Those with certain life events like job loss, marriage, or having a baby can enroll any time. A special enrollment period is granted within 60 days of the event.

Medicare Enrollment

Initial enrollment for Medicare is 3 months before and after turning 65. There are also special periods for those on disability benefits to enroll.

Medicaid/CHIP Enrollment

People can apply for Medicaid or CHIP coverage at any time year-round. Approval is based on eligibility requirements. Coverage can begin immediately if qualified.


COBRA allows temporarily continuing an employer health plan after leaving a job. Enrollees pay full premiums themselves for up to 18 months.

Short-Term Plans

Short-term insurance can be purchased directly from carriers at any time as needed. Plans start within 0-30 days after applying.

Planning ahead and understanding enrollment periods can help Pennsylvanians get insured without gaps in coverage.

Health Insurance Pa

Health Insurance Marketplace in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania uses the federal health insurance marketplace, Healthcare.gov, for individuals/families to purchase ACA-compliant plans. Here are key things to know:

  • Open enrollment for 2023 plans runs from November 1, 2022 to January 15, 2023.
  • All marketplace plans cover essential health benefits like preventive services, hospital visits, prescriptions, etc.
  • Cost assistance like premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions may be available for qualifying enrollees.
  • Ten insurance carriers offer marketplace plans in Pennsylvania for 2023. Shop and compare options.
  • Pennsylvania has expanded Medicaid – those earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level may qualify.
  • Free enrollment help is available through trained navigators and brokers.

Use the marketplace to shop for plans if uninsured, self-employed, or to save on premiums via subsidies. Having a variety of carriers participating helps increase competition and options for consumers.

Medicaid and CHIP in Pennsylvania

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide free or low-cost health coverage for low-income residents of Pennsylvania. Key Medicaid facts:

  • Traditional Medicaid eligibility in PA is for adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level.
  • Children qualify with household incomes up to 319% of the poverty level.
  • Medicaid expansion has covered 900,000 previously uninsured Pennsylvanians since 2015.
  • Services covered include doctor visits, hospital care, maternity care, mental health services, prescriptions, and more.
  • Medicaid has little or no premiums, deductibles, and copays for enrollees.
  • Enrollment is year-round – apply online through COMPASS, by mail, or at County Assistance Offices.

CHIP covers children up to age 19 in families earning too much for Medicaid but unable to afford private insurance. It has low premiums and out-of-pocket costs for comprehensive coverage. More than 180,000 kids are covered by CHIP in Pennsylvania.

Medicare in Pennsylvania

Over 3.2 million Pennsylvanians rely on Medicare for their health coverage. Here’s what to know about Medicare in PA:

  • Most Pennsylvanians with Medicare qualify due to being age 65+; younger enrollees may qualify for disability benefits.
  • Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) covers hospital services, doctor visits, preventive care, medical equipment and more.
  • Prescription drug coverage is offered through Medicare Part D plans – this is optional additional coverage.
  • Many Medicare beneficiaries choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans for extra benefits like vision, hearing, dental, and more.
  • Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans help cover Medicare out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles.
  • The Medicare annual open enrollment period to make plan changes is October 15 to December 7 each year.

Understanding the different parts of Medicare, enrollment periods, and plan options can help Pennsylvanians choose coverage to fit their healthcare needs and budget.

Health Insurance Carriers in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania consumers have a variety of insurers offering coverage in the state:

Major Insurers

  • Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • UPMC Health Plan
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • Independence Blue Cross
  • Aetna
  • Cigna
  • UnitedHealthcare

Medicaid Managed Care Organizations

  • UPMC For You
  • PA Health & Wellness
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • Keystone First
  • AmeriHealth Caritas
  • Vista Health Plan

Medicare Advantage Plans

  • Aetna Medicare
  • Cigna Medicare
  • Highmark Medicare
  • Humana Medicare
  • Wellcare Medicare
  • Geisinger Gold

Review the provider network, premiums, drug formularies, and benefits when comparing plans from different insurance companies in PA.

Health Insurance Law and Regulations in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania regulates insurance plans in the state to protect consumers:

  • Guaranteed issue – Requires insurers to offer coverage to all applicants regardless of health status.
  • Pre-existing conditions – Health plans cannot deny coverage or charge more due to pre-existing conditions.
  • Essential health benefits – ACA plans must cover comprehensive services like hospitalization, prescription drugs, maternity care, mental health treatment, preventive care, and more.
  • Medical loss ratio rules – Insurers must spend at least 80-85% of premiums on medical claims and quality improvement.
  • External review – Provides an appeals process for denied claims to be reviewed by an independent third party.
  • Rate review – PA’s Department of Insurance regulates insurance premium rate increases.

Consumers have rights and protections under state and federal health insurance laws and regulations in Pennsylvania.

Health Insurance Resources in Pennsylvania

Navigating health insurance options in Pennsylvania can be complex, but help is available:

  • APPRISE – Counseling program to answer Medicare questions and assist with plan selection. Call 1-800-783-7067.
  • Pennie – Official health and dental insurance marketplace for PA residents. Visit Pennie.com.
  • Department of Human Services – Medicaid, CHIP, and other public assistance programs. Visit dhs.pa.gov.
  • Pennsylvania Insurance Department – Regulates insurance industry and investigates consumer complaints. Visit insurance.pa.gov.
  • Benefits.gov – Information on government health programs and financial assistance.
  • Healthcare.gov – Details on the Affordable Care Act, special enrollment periods, coverage options and savings in Pennsylvania.
  • Community health centers – Offer enrollment assistance and health services on an income-based sliding scale.

Consult these impartial resources to learn about available health insurance options, financial assistance programs, and your coverage rights in Pennsylvania.

Key Takeaways

  • Health insurance protects Pennsylvanians from high medical costs and improves access to care.
  • Employer plans, individual plans, Medicare and Medicaid provide coverage options for residents.
  • The health insurance marketplace makes it easier to compare and enroll in individual/family plans.
  • Medicaid expansion and CHIP provide coverage for lower-income individuals and families.
  • Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans are available to PA residents age 65+.
  • Numerous health insurance companies offer policies in Pennsylvania.
  • Consumers are protected by state and federal insurance regulations.
  • Assistance programs and resources can help Pennsylvanians understand their optimal health insurance choices.


Choosing the right health insurance provides important financial safeguards. This guide outlines the major coverage options and helps Pennsylvanians make informed decisions about healthcare in 2023. With quality affordable health insurance, Pennsylvania families can stay healthy, manage chronic conditions, and gain peace of mind.

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