The state of Pennsylvania is set to open up its health insurance marketplaces for the first time on January 1, the latest in a series of changes announced this week by the Obama administration to improve access to health care for millions of people in the United States.
The new insurance exchanges will allow Pennsylvania residents to sign-up for health coverage through a new state-run Medicaid program.
The federal government announced the changes Thursday.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services said that from January 1 to February 17, it will allow residents to apply for coverage through the state’s new Health Insurance Marketplace.
The state will not be able to charge people a premium to sign them up.
The state’s health insurance exchange will also allow individuals to purchase plans in individual, family, or group markets.
The changes were part of a plan announced by the White House earlier this month that also aims to improve the health care delivery system.
Pennsylvania has the nation’s fifth-largest uninsured population and the second-highest percentage of people without insurance, behind only Texas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.