College Financing Planning Tool
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), which distributes student loans to thousands of college-bound students every year, has launched its newest college-planning resource called MySmartBorrowing. This interactive tool will help online users to understand more easily the long-term implications of personal and financial choices that are necessary for a student’s higher education success plan.
MySmartBorrowing includes estimators that assist users in identifying their possible cost of a higher education at different schools, future salary expectations for a particular degree, availability of related employment opportunities, and their potential ability to repay student loans comfortably while also affording an independent lifestyle after graduation.
The website’s purpose is to get students and their parents and family members thinking seriously about taking on loans for college right from the start, not after acquiring high levels of debt, when it is too late. As always, students should exhaust all other eligible means of financing like scholarships and grant programs, which do not need to be repaid, before taking out student loans.
Individuals who want to check out this new interactive tool can do so by visiting www.mysmartborrowing.org. I also encourage school districts and guidance counselors to utilize this tool with high school juniors and seniors when students are considering their future higher education plans.
Borrowing wisely can be the key to graduating college with a healthy and manageable financial footing that can last a lifetime. It is also important to understand the different types of student loans that are available, each with different advantages and disadvantages during repayment. MySmartBorrowing is a powerful planning tool that helps users focus on the most important factors of what could otherwise be a complicated process.
Reauthorization of CHIP
House Bill 108 (HB 108) unanimously passed the Senate last week and would reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which was set to expire December 31, 2013. If this special provision does not pass the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, more than one-fourth of CHIP’s 180,000 enrollees will be switched to Medicaid coverage, a condition of the Affordable Care Act. Many state residents feel that CHIP provides superior medical insurance compared to Medicaid coverage.
This legislation also eliminates the CHIP program’s six-month waiting period, known as “go-bare,” before certain children can receive insurance coverage. Currently, the waiting period only applies to the low-cost and full-cost versions of CHIP, not the free version. While the current waiting requirement applies to most applicants in these two CHIP versions, it can be lifted if the applying child is under age two; the child has lost health benefits because a parent lost their job; or the child is moving from another public health insurance program.
The go-bare proposal was originally intended to prevent employers and/or consumers from being encouraged to drop private health insurance coverage to enroll in the taxpayer-subsidized program.
Affordable Care Act
As a result of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), starting today individuals in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania without health care coverage can begin shopping for affordable health care plans specialized to their individual needs and to those of their families. With the implementation of this law scheduled to begin on January 1st, there are several important points which everyone should be aware. To read more about the PPACA, please visit my website at www.senatorfontana.com and click on the first story on the homepage. If you would like to begin shopping for plans on the health exchange, please visit www.healthcare.gov.
Kasey Malotte from the Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy administers a blood pressure screening to Senator Fontana at the Senator’s Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on September 27th, held at Church of the Resurrection in Brookline.
Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic
Thank you to everyone who attended the Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic last Friday. It was great to see so many friendly faces! I also want to thank American HealthCare Group for administering the shots and to the Church of the Resurrection for hosting us. Thank you to the Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy for all your efforts in making the event a success. I also want to acknowledge the organizations and their staff members who participated and provided our seniors with important information: AARP; LifeSpan/Hillsdale Senior Center; Allegheny County Department of Human Services; PA Office of the Consumer Advocate; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Brookline; PA APPRISE; and the Seton Center.
Senator Fontana speaks with Green Tree Borough Manager David Montz during the Shredding Event the Senator co-hosted with Representatives Dan Miller and Dan Deasy on Saturday at Green Tree Park. More than 300 cars dropped off documents to be shredded and approximately 21,250 pounds of documents were shredded.
Thanks very much to those who attended, the staffs in all of our offices who worked together in putting on this event and to all the volunteers including the elected officials in Green Tree who attended and assisted.
Register to Vote
I want to remind all my constituents that next Monday, October 7th, is the last day to register to vote for the November 5th General Election. All voter registration forms must be received by the Allegheny County Office of Elections no later than October 7th. If you are in need of a voter registration form, you can visit one of my
district offices and we will provide you with one. If you are not able to visit, you can call one of my offices and we will mail you the form. You may also download and print the form at www.votespa.com. If you wish to register to vote in person, you may do so at the Allegheny County Office of Elections, located at 542 Forbes Avenue, Suite 604 in downtown Pittsburgh.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I want women to be aware of the resources offered by the PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC). This organization, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, is a statewide, non-profit organization that creates the hope of a brighter tomorrow by providing action and information to women with breast cancer today.
In addition to legislative advocacy and educational programming, the PBCC helps direct low and moderate income women who are uninsured get free treatment through the Pennsylvania Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program. The PBCC also offers support groups, raises needed funds for research, and much more. Visit them online at www.pabreastcancer.org to learn more about the organization and how they can help. If you are in need of free treatment, I also encourage you to call the PA Department of Health's Healthy Women Program at 1-800-215-7494.
Did You Know…
Did you know that in 2013, over 232,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and that there are currently over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States today?
Trail of the Year Nominations
The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) is accepting nominations for the 2014 Trail of the Year in Pennsylvania. They are encouraging all Pennsylvanians to nominate their favorite trail for this award, which is being coordinated by DCNR’s Trails Advisory Committee to elevate public awareness of the thousands of miles of trails available for public enjoyment throughout the Commonwealth.
The 2014 Trail of the Year winner will be announced in early 2014. The winner will be honored with a Trail of the Year plaque, a commemorative poster with statewide distribution, and a prominent listing on ExplorePATrails.com and DCNR’s website.
You can nominate a trail for this award by submitting a nomination packet to email@example.com by December 1st. Information needed as part of the nominating packet can be found visiting www.explorePATrails.com and selecting the 2014 Trail of the Year Slide. All nominated trails must be at least one mile in length and be open to the public. For more information on the nominating process, please contact Silas Chamberlin of the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee at 610-923-3548, ext. 222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brookline Business Feature
This week’s featured Brookline business is Zippy's Saloon, located at 542 Brookline Boulevard. Zippy’s offers customers a wide-range of Italian dishes and other specials. They also provide catering services. Zippy’s also often has live music and karaoke for customers and there’s always a game to watch on their televisions. For more information on Zippy’s please visit them online at http://www.zippyssaloon.com/ or call them at 412-343-3574. Please continue to support local merchants during the Brookline Boulevard Streetscape Project and remember:
Brookline is open for business!
The Pittsburgh Pirates drew 2,256,862 fans to PNC Park this season marking the second highest single-season attendance figure in club history, dating back to 1882. It was only the fifth time in club history they eclipsed the 2 million fan mark in a single-season and only the second time they have done it in back-to-back seasons with the first being during the 1990 and 1991 seasons.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
|| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
524 Pine Hollow Rd
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216