A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

First day of health insurance enrollment under way; resources can help you get started


Staff report
 

Today is the first day Americans can begin buying health insurance through state exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Kentucky’s health insurance exchange is called Kynect, short for Kentucky Healthcare Connection. kynect, like other state exchanges, allows individuals and businesses to compare and select insurance plans and find out if they qualify for programs such as Medicaid or the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program.

 

“Today marks a sea change in the health of Kentuckians. The impact of providing affordable health care coverage to the more than 640,000 Kentuckians who are now uninsured is nearly unfathomable. Real access to health care will not only improve our collective health, but will strengthen our workforce and save Kentucky millions of dollars,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time, and I’m excited for our friends, neighbors and coworkers to finally enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having affordable health insurance.
 

Open enrollment begins Oct. 1 and runs through March 31 2014, with coverage beginning as soon as January 2014. Starting next year, most Americans will be required to have health insurance or face a penalty.
 

Through kynect, all Kentuckians will have access to available elements of the ACA, including:
 

• No one can be denied coverage due to a pre-existing health condition or lose coverage because a family member gets sick;
 

• Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging women more than men for the same coverage;
 

• All health insurance plans will cover services such as preventive care, pregnancy and infant care, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment;
 

• No lifetime limits can be imposed on health insurance coverage; and
 

• Children will be allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they reach the age of 26.

For more information, click here or call 855-4kynect (459-6328).
 

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
 

In addition to information found on kynect, the Kentucky Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has compiled a number of links to various groups, organizations and government agencies.
 

• Kentucky Voices for Health, a statewide health advocacy organization, has a new presentation which outlines The ACA and its impacts on Kentuckians.
 

• The foundation itself has created a presentation: The Affordable Care Act: Opportunities in Care Delivery Reform, Public Health, and Decreasing Disparities
 

• Gov. Steve Beshear’s office recently released information on the number of uninsured Kentuckians, plus the number of people expected to be elgible for Medicaid expansion and the health benefit exchange. The data is broken down to the county level so you can see the impact of health reforms on your local community, available here.
 

• Health insurance marketplace information available here.
 

• Tools and resources to help explain Medicaid expansion in Kentucky is available here.
 

• Facts about the Affordable Care Act available here.
 

• Kaiser Family Foundation Summary of the Affordable Care Act available here.
 

• Kaiser Family Foundation Health Reform, click here.
 

• Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Affordable Care Act Review here.
 

• A tool illustrating health insurance premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own available here.
 

You might also be interested in reading The Rural Blog: To make buying health insurance easier, consider it a 4-step process on KyForward.


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