MFHS News

Pennie™ Opens a COVID-19 Enrollment Period Which Will Run Until May 15

Uninsured Pennsylvanians or those affected by COVID-19 can visit pennie.com and enroll in a plan through May 15. 

 Harrisburg, PA – February 17, 2021 – Uninsured Pennsylvanians can act now and enroll in 2021 coverage during

Pennie’s COVID-19 Enrollment Period. Pennie, Pennsylvania’s state-based health insurance marketplace, is proud to provide individuals across the Commonwealth additional time to enroll in health insurance to protect them and their families from the cost of the COVID-19 virus. This enrollment period is in-line with President Biden’s recent Executive Order and is open for all Pennsylvanians who have been impacted by COVID-19. Anyone otherwise eligible to enroll in coverage through Pennie™ can do so from now until May 15.

“The economic and public health implications of the pandemic have only strengthened the argument that accessible and affordable health insurance is a necessity.  As COVID-19 has universally impacted Pennsylvanians, we felt it was an imperative to re-open Pennie, allowing the uninsured and the underinsured to get coverage and access financial assistance to help pay for it. To act now, go to pennie.com to explore options and enroll as soon as possible,” said Pennie’s Executive Director Zachary W. Sherman.

Although this enrollment period does apply to Pennie’s current customers, they are not obligated to change their plans. If customers are satisfied with their current 2021 coverage, no action is necessary.

Pennie customers enrolling through the COVID-19 enrollment period will have coverage beginning the first of the following month. For example, if a customer enrolls on February 20, their coverage will start on March 1 and if they enroll on February 28, their coverage will also start on March 1.  However, if a customer enrolls on March 1, their coverage will start on April 1.  Customers are strongly encouraged to enroll as early in the month as possible to ensure timely processing.  The latest effective date associated with this enrollment period will be July 1, 2021.

“Pennie was created to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to affordable and comprehensive health coverage while consistently striving to reduce the uninsured rate. Pennie is also here to protect those who need health coverage in Pennsylvania and is proud to provide this opportunity for the uninsured during this global health and economic crisis felt so strongly throughout our Pennsylvania communities,” noted Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman. “I hope any Pennsylvanian without health insurance will seek coverage to protect themselves and their families from the potential financial crisis that COVID-19 can create.”

All commercial, comprehensive health insurance plans available in the Commonwealth, including plans purchased through Pennie, cover: the COVID-19 test if patients are experiencing symptoms or has had an indication of exposure; treatment for the symptoms that develop due to COVID-19; and, the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. Not to mention, all other routine check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative treatments. For further details, visit the Pennie COVID-19 webpage.

Pennie is the only source for financial assistance to help with the cost of coverage and care and can also link customers to free certified experts to assist with the application or plan selection process. Pennie encourages anyone who has found themselves recently uninsured and is seeking coverage, and potentially financial assistance, to go to pennie.com or to call Pennie customer care at 1-844-844-8040 before May 15.

About Pennie

Pennie is Pennsylvania’s new state-affiliated health insurance marketplace created to reduce costs and better support the needs of customers purchasing health coverage. For more information, visit pennie.com or follow us on social at fb.com/PenniePA and Twitter.com/PennieOfficial.

Delayed Opening Tuesday, February 16

All MFHS locations will have a delayed start of 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 16th due to the winter weather which will impact the MFHS service area. If you need to reschedule your appointment tomorrow due to the weather, please call your local WIC office and they will help schedule a new appointment.

Boost Your Baby’s Future with Keystone Scholars!

There are exciting milestones in a baby’s life: first tooth, first word, first steps, and now the PA Treasury Department has added yet another first to that list—first $100 towards higher education: Keystone Scholars.

Keystone Scholars provides a $100 starter deposit to a PA 529 account for every child born or adopted to a Pennsylvania family, after December 31, 2018. Since Keystone Scholars expanded statewide in 2019, more than 10,000 babies in Pennsylvania have taken their first steps to a bright future. Of those 10,000 families, 20 percent have taken active steps to continue saving for their child’s future education, whatever it may be: trade school, community college, or a 4-year university.

Starting in January, all babies born to WIC participants in the first half of 2021 will receive the Bright Future Booster – an additional $50 in their Keystone Scholars Child Development Account. This additional booster deposit, made possible through generous philanthropic support, is for babies born between January and June 2021 to moms enrolled in WIC at the time of birth.

MFHS has been partnering with the PA Treasury to get the word out on this significant program. We encourage you to become a part of the team to help make families aware that their child has a $100 savings account in their name. Treasury has an arsenal of resource materials that are available free of charge for your use in your local office to share with families.

New parents can also learn more and register their child for Keystone Scholars Online at pa529.com/keystone. You can also download a fact sheet with more information on the program here.

MFHS Closed February 2, 2021

MFHS offices will be closed again on Tuesday, February 2nd due to the snow storm across the Northeast. Staff will work with clients to reschedule missed appointments once our offices re-open.

MFHS Closed February 1, Delayed Start February 2

All MFHS locations will be closed on Monday, February 1, 2021, due to the major winter storm that will impact the MFHS service area. In addition, there will be a 10 a.m. start time Tuesday, February 2.

Staff at your local offices will work with you to reschedule any appointments that need to be changed. Please stay safe and warm!

MFHS Announces Circle of Care Scranton Expansion

Maternal and Family Health Services (MFHS) has expanded their Circle of Care office in Scranton thanks to a grant from the Moses Taylor Foundation and Scranton Area Community Foundation.

The Circle of Care in Scranton originally occupied the upper floor of 640 Madison Avenue and has expanded to include the building’s lower floor. MFHS has moved social services (Behavioral Health, Nurse-Family Partnership and the WIC Nutrition Program) to the lower floor and is now dedicating the upper floor to clinical services (Reproductive Health and Maternity Services). The expansion has allowed MFHS to increase capacity and has allowed for better social distancing while continuing to serve those in need in Scranton.

Pictured Left to Right; Lori Ryder, LCSW Social Worker, Kathy Egreczky, RD WIC Nutritionist, Serena Kozokas, LSW Social Worker and Cindy Kennedy, Director of Client Services.

Weather Alert: December 16-17, 2020

UPDATE, 12/16/20, 11:30 AM With the news from Penn DOT of travel restrictions beginning at 1:00 p.m. which are likely to include passenger vehicles as early as 4:00 p.m., all MFHS locations will now be closing at 3:00 p.m. today.

With much of the state under a winter storm warning for significant snow impacts, All MFHS locations will be closing at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16th and will be closed on Thursday, December 17th.

Staff at your local offices will work with you to reschedule any appointments that need to be changed. Please stay safe and warm!

A #GivingTuesday Message from MFHS CEO Maria Montoro Edwards, PhD

Celebrating #GivingTuesday with Kate Flannery from The Office!

The Dundie for the best MFHS shoutout goes to… Kate Flannery from The Office!

Kate wants to tell you all about #GivingTuesday and how you can help MFHS provide nutrition and healthcare to women, children, and families not just in Scranton but across Northeast Pennsylvania! Every dollar you donate on December 1st will be matched by AllOne Charities up to $1000. Tell all your friends at Dunder Mifflin – donations can be made from Thanksgiving day through #GivingTuesday!

Maternal and Family Health Services Awarded $150,000 By the AllOne Foundation

Photo Left to Right: John Cosgrove, Executive Director AllOne Foundation; Ann Jones, NFP Program Manager at MFHS: Maria Montoro Edwards, MFHS President and CEO; Shannnon Hayward, MFHS Vice President of Service Delivery Operations; and Peter Danchak, AllOne Foundation Board Member.

Photo Left to Right: John Cosgrove, Executive Director AllOne Foundation; Ann Jones, NFP Program Manager at MFHS: Maria Montoro Edwards, MFHS President and CEO; Shannnon Hayward, MFHS Vice President of Service Delivery Operations; and Peter Danchak, AllOne Foundation Board Member.

Maternal and Family Health Services (MFHS) was recently awarded $150,000 from the AllOne Foundation to support the MFHS High Risk Nurse Home Visiting Project. The project will enable the MFHS Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) Program to increase the number of at-risk, multiparous women (women who have experienced one or more child births) who receive evidence-based home visiting services in the MFHS service area.

“Partnering moms with our caring nurse home visitors has long been proven to empower mothers in having a healthy pregnancy, and navigating all of the challenges that come with a new baby,” says Maria Montoro Edwards, PhD, MFHS President and CEO, “MFHS thanks the AllOne Foundation for supporting the expansion of the NFP Program so more at-risk mothers can get the support they need to have healthy, thriving children.”

MFHS is part of an initiative to expand access to the NFP Program, which is traditionally for at-risk, first time mothers only, to include at-risk mothers who have had a previous birth and could benefit from having a specially trained registered nurse provide care and support during pregnancy and through the child’s second birthday.

In addition to expanding access to NFP, the project funds a mental health professional to provide nurse home visitors with training and case consultation to address the complex mental health needs of clients, integrate mental health supports into the NFP program, increase linkages to mental health resources and strengthen collaboration with mental health services in the community, and build and develop the nurse home visitors’ capacity for engaging with mothers who are experiencing behavioral health and mental health challenges which could interfere with parenting and the parent-child relationship.

Interested parents-to-be in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, and Wayne Counties can learn more about the program by visiting MFHS.org or calling 1-800-367-6347.