Kim plan empowers Pennie enrollees with grants for premiums, expenses

Pilot program would answer governor’s call for health care micro grants

HARRISBURG, May 6 – Individuals who buy health insurance through Pennie could receive a new state subsidy to help pay for their insurance premiums under a proposal introduced by state Rep. Patty Kim, chair of the PA House Insurance Committee.

Today, that proposal, H.B. 2234, was favorably voted out of that committee and is ready for a full House vote.

Pennie provides excellent health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who fall outside of traditional work-related coverage options, Kim said, but many families still struggle to meet their deductibles or pay their premiums.

More than two-thirds of uninsured people who applied for, but did not purchase, Pennie coverage said it was too expensive. And many Pennie plans have deductibles over $10,000. However, according to Federal Reserve data, 13% of adults are unable to pay a $400 unexpected expense at any given time – meaning many Pennie customers cannot afford their coverage.

“We can lift struggling workers up to manage the rising costs of health care with a program that empowers them to pay their bills,” said Kim, D-Dauphin/Cumberland. “From a public policy perspective, small, targeted programs can deliver a difference in people’s lives.”

Kim’s proposal answers Gov. Josh Shapiro’s call to create a pilot program giving Pennsylvanians cash subsidies so they can buy health insurance through Pennie.

“Everybody wins with this approach: more people without health insurance get covered, and more people with health insurance get better coverage,” Kim said.