PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
As Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I am proud to report that the committee has moved the first bill up for a vote this legislative session. House Bill 159 will be up for second consideration on Wednesday, Jan. 28. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, officially began his 17th term as state representative after being sworn in during a special ceremony at the state Capitol today. The swearing-in ceremony marked the beginning of the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s 199th Legislative Session. The legislature is mandated by the state constitution to convene at noon on the first Tuesday of January following an election.DeLuca will retain his post as Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee. "I am honored to continue to serve the people of the 32nd Legislative District. As Insurance Committee chairman, I’ve fought hard for their access to quality and affordable health care at our region’s best medical facilities. I will continue to help residents navigate the health insurance climate in western Pennsylvania,” DeLuca said.“I also look forward to working with Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s administration to improve the quality of education for children throughout the commonwealth, better protect consumers and strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy.”Residents can sign up for periodic email updates from DeLuca on state issues and services by visiting his legislative website, www.pahouse.com/DeLuca, and clicking on the “Sign up for emails” link under the “Contact” button on the page. Read more
Whenever voters are especially frustrated with the state Legislature, there are suggestions to switch lawmakers to part-time status and trim or eliminate the generous fringe benefits such as pensions and free health care for life. After all, only nine states have full-time legislatures. Why can’t Pennsylvania operate with a smaller, less costly General Assembly? It’s worth noting that Pennsylvania ranks at the top of the lists for pay, benefits and cost, including staff costs. Overall, Pennsylvania has the largest and most expensive state legislature. The National Conference of State Legislatures grouped different types of state legislaturesto include:Green — meaning full-time, well paid, with large staffs Gray — a hybrid structure Gold — meaning part-time, with lower pay, smaller staffs In that survey, Pennsylvania is one of just three states in the Green category, the others being California and New York. Yet, when it comes to population, Pennsylvania is more in line with “Green lite” or Hybrid states. California and Texas have more than twice the 12.7 million population of Pennsylvania. Yet, state lawmakers in Pennsylvania have created a structure with one of the top pay scales and the largest legislative staff in the nation. As troubled as voters might be by this, only lawmakers themselves can change it. Unlike the rules in many other states, voters here do not have direct influence, through Read more
Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more
A new arrangement for services between UPMC and Highmark is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 and will affect many western Pennsylvanians.There is a new state website designed to help alleviate any uncertainty and cut through the confusion has been launched to help answer questions. Going forward, both of these entities will abide by consent decrees that each party signed with the state.The website, stayinformed.pa.gov offers a detailed explanation about the transition. Information and other resources are also available to explain the consumer protections that House Democrats fought to ensure were part of the agreement. As the New Year arrives, there will likely continue to be issues as this transition is implemented, but the mediation efforts of UPMC and Highmark will be closely monitored to ensure that access to the region’s quality health care is protected. However, officials are urging that the single most important thing people who might be affected can do is contact their physician’s office and ask if their health insurance will be accepted after Jan. 1. Read more
Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed.
Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed.
Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you.
Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote.
The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses.
House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session.
According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more
As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more
The open enrollment period for health care coverage is now underway. If you or someone you know is in need of health insurance, please consider visiting the federal Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov. Applicants have until Feb. 16, 2015 to enroll.
Everyone, no matter what age, needs health insurance. A random accident or unexpected illness could put you in danger of losing not only your good health but also your financial future. Read more
To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. Read more
While it may be the season for charitable giving, scammers don't take a holiday. The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple way to ensure a charity is legitimate and that your donation will be used properly. Read more
Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. Read more
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