HARRISBURG, Pa., July 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced 150,000 new Pennsylvanians have enrolled in HealthChoices, since Governor Tom Wolf's Medicaid expansion plan launched on April 27, 2015. HealthChoices provides health care coverage to more Pennsylvanians than ever before, including many who previously didn't qualify for traditional Medicaid plans.
"It is a priority of my administration to provide greater access to health care for Pennsylvanians," Governor Wolf said. "Not only will the safety and security afforded by access to affordable health care make it easier for Pennsylvanians participate in our economy, but it will also drive down costs for providing health care, particularly visits to the emergency room which is the most expensive form of care. Additionally, Medicaid expansion will provide a boost to the commonwealth's economy."
As a result of Pennsylvania's decision to expand Medicaid, more hard working individuals now have access to preventive care, primary care doctors, prescriptions and behavioral health parity. In addition to individuals who qualified previously, Pennsylvanians ages 19 to 64 with incomes up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level may be eligible for coverage under Medicaid expansion.
"Thousands of Pennsylvanians are enrolling in HealthChoices every week, with a 53 percent increase in individuals determined newly eligible for health care coverage since Governor Wolf expanded Medicaid," said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. "Not only will more people in the commonwealth have access to health care, including preventative care, but Medicaid expansion saves the taxpayers millions compared to the cost of the previous Healthy PA plan. In the next year alone, the commonwealth will save at least $33.1 million from revised benefits packages and changes in the copay."
Medicaid expansion also allowed the state to access millions in federal funds for health care. In fiscal year 2015-16, those federal funds saved the state approximately $626 million in state funds. Based on current enrollment trends, state savings are projected to grow to $645 million in state fiscal year 2016-17.
In addition to expanding the pool of individuals eligible, HealthChoices streamlined Medicaid in Pennsylvania, allowing consumers to receive health care faster and more efficiently. In the previous plan, formerly known as Healthy PA, individuals could be enrolled in one of three separate plan components. The complexity of this approach led to many individuals not receiving the appropriate coverage and others inappropriately denied care. By streamlining this process, the Medicaid expansion has made enrollment easier for consumers.
For more information or to apply for coverage, visit www.HealthChoicesPA.com
MEDIA CONTACT: Kait Gillis, 717-425-7606
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor