Jan. 12, 2024

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The latest news from the State Capitol
In this Edition:
  •   108th Pennsylvania Farm Show Closes Saturday!
  •   Wilsbach Distributors to Receive $2 Million State Grant
  •   New Website for Pennsylvanians to Appeal Denied Health Plan Services
  •   Does Your Home Contain Radon?
  •   Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Now Underway, Free Insurance Counseling Available
  •   Health Coverage Enrollment Deadline Extended to Jan. 19
  •   January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month
  •   Offices Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
  •   FAFSA Completion Workshop Jan. 20
  •   Out and About
108th Pennsylvania Farm Show Closes Saturday!

The Pennsylvania Farm Show draws to a close this Saturday, Jan. 13, in Harrisburg.

I was fortunate to attend the Farm Show on opening day last Saturday, and since then thousands of people from all over the state have visited the country’s largest indoor agricultural exposition under one roof to learn more about our state’s top industry, check out prize-winning animals and enjoy delicious Pennsylvania cuisine in the food court.

If you want to catch the show before it ends, remember that admission is free but
parking is $15 per vehicle. Shuttle service is provided.

For all the latest news about the Farm Show, follow it on Facebook or visit www.farmshow.pa.gov.
Wilsbach Distributors to Receive $2 Million State Grant

Congratulations to Wilsbach Distributors Inc. on being selected as one of 16 applicants to receive funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to replace diesel-fueled fleets with modern, zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) as a part of the 2022-23 Medium and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Pilot Grant.

I was glad to support Wilsbach Distributors, a thriving business located in the 106th District, in their efforts to secure funding to improve air quality and reduce transportation emissions.

Grants distributed under the program will help with the battery-electric replacement of dozens of vehicles, including home delivery trucks, refuse/recycling trucks, terminal tractors, and the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle replacement of two terminal tractors and their supporting charging infrastructure.

Wilsbach Distributors will specifically use its grant funding to replace five eligible beverage delivery vehicles with BEVs and install two DC fast EV chargers.
New Website for Pennsylvanians to Appeal Denied Health Plan Services

As part of Act 146, Pennsylvanians now have the option to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department if they believe coverage for a medical procedure has been denied.

The state-administered independent third-party review process is available at no cost to Pennsylvanians and can be accessed on a new state website developed by the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience (CODE PA) team.

You can read more about this here.
Does Your Home Contain Radon?

January is National Radon Action Month. An estimated 40% of Pennsylvania homes have higher levels of radon than national safety standards, due to the state’s geology. However, residents can perform a simple test to detect this gas, which is considered the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. High levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home.

Winter is a good time to test for radon, because doors and windows are generally closed, providing more accurate results. Simple radon test kits are inexpensive and available at home improvement and hardware stores.

To learn more about radon and how to test your home, click here.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Now Underway, Free Insurance Counseling Available

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging reminds Medicare beneficiaries that the annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from now to March 31. During this time, beneficiaries who currently have a Medicare Advantage plan can switch to a different plan or to original Medicare. Changes to enrollment will take effect on the first of the month following the month in which you enroll.

Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI), Pennsylvania’s Medicare counseling program, is available through local Area Agencies on Aging to help beneficiaries with Medicare questions. Older adults can receive unbiased, free Medicare assistance from trained counselors who can walk them through their options to assist in making informed health insurance decisions that optimize their cost savings and access to health care and benefits.

Older adults can contact their local Area Agency on Aging to schedule a personalized counseling session. For more information, call the toll-free PA MEDI Helpline at 1-800-783-7067 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To find a PA MEDI event or presentation, click here. 

Learn more about the various programs offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging here and on the Department of Aging’s Facebook page.  
Health Coverage Enrollment Deadline Extended to Jan. 19

The deadline to enroll in 2024 health coverage through Pennie, the Commonwealth’s official health insurance marketplace, has been extended to Friday, Jan. 19, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Anyone who misses the deadline will need to wait until next November to enroll unless there is a qualifying life event like losing other health coverage or moving.

Pennie is the only place where Pennsylvanians can get financial savings to reduce the cost of coverage and care. Currently, nine in 10 enrollees qualify and save over $500 a month on average.

Health plans and prices change every year, so anyone needing coverage should review their options even if they have looked before. All health plans offered through Pennie provide comprehensive coverage, including care for pre-existing conditions and many free preventive screenings and vaccines. Current Pennie customers should update their account (family size, income and contact information) and see if they still have the best plan for their needs.

The monthly cost for health coverage through Pennie is based on income. Individuals making less will pay less, sometimes under $1 a month. Those with higher incomes will pay a higher share of the health insurance premiums, and no one will pay more than 8.5% of their household income.

Pennsylvanians interested in shopping for and purchasing health coverage through Pennie can visit pennie.com or call Pennie customer service at 1-844-844-8040. Individuals in need of assistance navigating coverage options, can go to pennie.com/connect to find help.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation, and sadly, Pennsylvania ranks 10th among states for the most reported cases.

It is a crime that harms adults and children of all ages and demographics. Through force, fraud and coercion, traffickers push their victims into demeaning forms of abuse, including domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. These crimes often remain hidden because victims are reluctant to seek help for a variety of reasons, including language barriers, fear of traffickers and law enforcement, and lack of trust.

To help educate the public about the crime and prevent more people from becoming victims, January has been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

If you are a victim of human trafficking in need of help, or you suspect that someone else is a victim:  
  •   Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
  •   Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
  •   Text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733) to reach the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
Offices Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

All PennDOT driver license and photo centers will be closed Saturday, Jan. 13, through Monday, Jan. 15, in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov. 

My legislative offices will also be closed on Monday, Jan. 15.
FAFSA Completion Workshop Jan. 20

To help students who plan to attend college fill out their FAFSA application, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is holding a seminar on Jan. 20 at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. at PHEAA, 1200 N. 7th St., Harrisburg.

This free hands on FAFSA Completion Session is designed for college-bound seniors and their parents. A PHEAA Access Partner will be available to assist in the completion of your online FAFSA application. The FAFSA is used to determine if students qualify for almost all forms of need-based financial assistance, including the Pennsylvania State Grant, Federal Pell Grant, many scholarships, work-study programs, many school-based awards and federal student loans.

**All students and contributors (such as parents and spouses) must establish their Federal Student Aid Accounts (FSA ID) at https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id/create-account/launch at least four days prior to attending the event.

You can register via Eventbrite: Click here to register.
Out and About

I had the opportunity to wish two great couples from the district a happy 50th wedding anniversary this past week. I presented each of the couples with a congratulatory citation from the PA House of Representatives on reaching this marital milestone.

Charles and Eileen Despot from Hummelstown.

George and Donna Elberti from Middletown.

I also presented a citation to Franklin and Elizabeth Kury in recognition of their 60th wedding anniversary. Franklin served as a state representative from 1967-72 and as a senator from 1973-78, serving parts of Columbia, Juniata, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties during his tenure in the General Assembly. The Kury’s have since made their home in Derry Township.