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As Open Enrollment Ends, Pennsylvanians Fear For The Future Of Health Coverage

Matt Rourke
Gov. Tom Wolf shows his signature after he signed legislation reauthorizing Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.


The open enrollment period for people buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act comes to a close this Friday—a period half as long as last year’s. Nearly 80 percent of Pennsylvanian consumers selected the “middle-of-the-road” silver plan last year, but this year, costs for silver plans have rocketed.

Meanwhile, the hazy future of the Children Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has some Pennsylvania customers worried. Congress didn't authorize funding at the end of September, and Pennsylvania Human Services officials say they only have enough money to last until February. Many other states are running out of CHIP money, too. Plus, Congress has yet to authorize funding for community health centers in Pennsylvania, putting them on the verge of crisis.


We cut through some of the confusion and talk about the implications of these health care changes with Kris Mamula and Kate Giammarise from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WESA’s health and science reporter Sarah Boden.

Coming up next…

City Council could soon take a major step towards addressing the lack of affordable housing in Pittsburgh. Last year, the Housing Opportunity Fund was created to provide more affordable options in Pittsburgh's booming real estate and rental market, and a vote this week gave preliminary approval to fund the trust with an increase in next year's realty transfer tax.


WESA'sAn-Li Herring and Margaret J. Krauss help us understand how the fund will work.

And finally…

The number of students using on-campus mental health services nationwide has jumped sharply in recent years, and many Pittsburgh-area colleges and universities are struggling to keep up with demand. On some campuses, it's not unusual for students to wait for an appointment for two or three weeks, often even longer. So what happens when students in need can't access immediate help?


Point Park University senior Matt Petras tells us about his reporting for PublicSource.


The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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