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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Pennsylvania affordable health insurance

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: I'm a 62 yr old healthy female living in lower Bucks County PA. Is there a medical insurance plan for me that is affordable?

A: Obviously that’s a loaded question since we may not agree on what is meant by “affordable”. Officially, PA defines health insurance affordability simply as being less than a person’s disposable income. This definition does not leave any room for other discretionary expenses so many would not agree with this definition of "affordable". Fortunately, Pennsylvania has a much better selection of low cost health insurance plans than most of the country. Pennsylvania also has a state-subsidized insurance program for lower income individuals. Even the cost of full price health insurance in Pennsylvania is significantly lower than in neighboring states like New Jersey, New York, and Maryland. You can expect to pay as little as $75 per month for a supplemental Basic Health Insurance or as much as $480 for a full coverage Blue Cross / Blue Shield plan. The best value is probably the 36 month short term medical coverage offered under the brand name "SECURE STM". A high deductible policy will cost about $160 per month. See the Pennsylvania page at for a listing of low cost health insurance plans available in your situation. If you meet the income eligibility requirements, get on the waiting list for the state-sponsored plan by following the links to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. You will have to be covered for about a year on the short term medical insurance before being admitted to the state-assisted plan.


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