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Exchange name: kynect: Kentucky’s Healthcare Connection
State-based or federally run: kynect: Kentucky’s Healthcare Connection is among the 17 declared state-based health insurance exchanges, which include Washington, D.C.
Plans: Among health plans offered on Kentucky’s exchange will be those from Kentucky Health Cooperative, which is a new, nonprofit, member-governed health insurance provider. It was established as part of the Affordable Care Act’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Program. Twenty-four states, including Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin, have formed co-ops.
In addition to the co-op, the following carriers provide coverage through kynect:
As with all plans that meet the Affordable Care Act’s definition of qualified coverage, kynect plans will fit into the four Obamacare metal levels. A catastrophic plan, also known as a minimum coverage plan, is available to those under 30 or who qualify for hardship exemptions. All qualified plans on and off exchanges include benefits in the 10 categories of essential health benefits and preventive care at no additional cost.
As of Oct. 2, the second day Americans could buy health insurance plans from state and federally facilitated exchanges, 11,000 Kentuckians had applied for coverage through kynect, according to a press release from the governor’s office. An estimated 640,000 Kentuckians are uninsured—nearly 15 percent of the state’s population. Of those who use kynect, 4 out of 5 are expected to qualify for financial assistance.
Kentuckians can shop and apply for private coverage, as well as Medicaid and the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program, through the new online marketplace, in person, or on the phone. Those interested in applying by mail or fax should visit kynect’s FAQ page and scroll to “How do I file a paper application?” to learn about the five paper application options. Consumers nationwide can apply for major medical insurance now through March 31, 2014, to meet Obamcare’s requirement that most Americans have health insurance. If you wish to have coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014, you must apply no later than Dec. 15, 2013. Starting in 2014, if you go more than a three-month period without coverage, you may face a tax penalty.
Rates: Now that open enrollment for 2014 has begun, those shopping for individual, family and small business coverage can visit kyenroll.ky.gov to check eligibility for plans and financial assistance, compare rates and plan designs, and apply.
Monthly premiums will vary based on plan selection as well as the applicant’s age, geographical location, family size and tobacco use. Under the Affordable Care Act, starting with coverage year 2014, Americans cannot be denied coverage or charged more due to preexisting conditions. These provisions apply whether plans are purchased via the marketplace or not.
Those who purchase health coverage through state-based and federally operated exchanges may qualify for tax credits and additional premium subsidies, depending on household income. The healthedeals.com Health Care Reform Calculator, which was listed among The Financial Times “Best Online Tools for the Toughest Health Questions,” can help those planning to buy from an exchange calculate their Obamacare health insurance cost and tax credit.
Consumer assistance: Those who need assistance shopping or applying on Kentucky’s health insurance exchange can search for insurance agents and kynectors—individuals trained to assist consumers—at kyenroll.ky.gov/General/AgentOrKynector. Customer service representatives are also available via chat at kynect.ky.gov and phone at 855-4kynect (459-6328).
Need coverage now?
If you need health insurance to get you by until Jan. 1, 2014, a temporary insurance plan can provide coverage for as few as 30 days. Start shopping on healthedeals.com or contact a healthedeals.com sales consultant for more information on short-term health insurance and supplemental plans.
Jenifer Dorsey is a freelance writer whose specialties include health and fitness, wellness, sports and recreation. She is a competitive amateur track cyclist who also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor adventure. Jenifer received a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and is an MFA candidate at Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.