Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Open enrollment for Healthy PA and federal insurance marketplace

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Dec 2, 2014 3:37 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, December 3, 2014:

Pennsylvania is in a unique place right now when it comes to health insurance for those who are uninsured or under insured.

The second year of open enrollment through the federal marketplace under the Affordable Care Act opened on November 15 and will stay open until February 15 of next year.  By all reports, unlike last year -- it seems to be going smoothly.

For the first time, Pennsylvania's alternative to the federal plan -- Healthy PA -- began enrollment Monday of this week.

The Healthy PA plan is open to Pennsylvanians between the ages of 21 and 64 with incomes at or below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level who are not eligible to receive Medicaid.

Adding to the confusion is that the state's newly elected governor Tom Wolf wants to scrap the Healthy PA plan altogether, even though that probably won't happen before Wolf is sworn into office in January.

We'll try to sort it all out and provide practical information on Wednesday's Smart Talk.

Appearing on the program are two ACA navigators Lynn Keltz, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers Association and Sue Walther, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania along with WITF's Transforming Health reporter Ben Allen.

Call the toll free number 1-855-274-5626 to schedule an appointment with a Healthcare Navigator.

Listeners may also wish to consult the Getting Covered Guide on Transforming Health, which is a multimedia project of WITF that focuses on health care changes in America. The Getting Covered Guide contains the latest information on the Affordable Care Act and Healthy Pennsylvania.

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Click on the image to access the Getting Covered Guide

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Lynn Keltz, Sue Walther, and Ben Allen

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  • Mark img 2014-12-03 09:55

    Luckily in this country we have decided not to go the evil Socialist route of simple, universal healthcare for all – it is just not the Cowboy way. Although the whole process of choosing, purchasing, and maintaining insurance seems impossibly complex, especially given that it is changing on an ongoing basis, I feel confident that we Americans are up to the task. When it comes time to elect our leaders, we all do our duty and due diligence, spending uncounted hours researching the candidates, asking questions and weighing the advantages/disadvantages of the various candidates. Although sometimes, after all of this work, most of us choose not to actually vote, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we are willing to put in the hard work of the democratic process. Choosing health insurance may seem a bit daunting, but we as a people have examined all of the options and, darn it, this is how we want it!

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-12-03 10:18

    Donald emails:

    Is there any place people who are not tech savvy can go to talk to a live human being about buying a plan?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-12-03 10:18

    Kathy emails:

    I am an artist who does other assorted odd jobs, and have no way of accurately predicting my income. My husband is in a similar self-employed position with unpredictable income. In general we are low income. We do not want to be on Medicaid. What are the options?
    Thank you

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-12-03 11:02

    In response to a question during today's program about prices on the federal healthcare exchange, Capitol Blue Cross contacted us to say their rates have gone down this year compared to last year on the exchange.

    • Scott LaMar img 2014-12-03 11:35

      To be more specific -- on average the rates are lower this year compared to last.