On October 1, 2013, Kentucky will officially launch its health insurance exchange, Kynect, which is one of the key components in Kentucky’s efforts to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Kynect is a web-based health insurance marketplace that will allow individuals and small groups to shop and compare available health plans. Kynect will also screen people to determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or premium subsidies. Carrie Banahan, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, describes Kynect as, “Similar to an Expedia or Travelocity type of shopping experience, where you’ll enter your information and you can shop and compare the different plans that will be offered.”
In anticipation of October 1st, people have attended information sessions to learn more about Kynect and have their questions answered. Additionally, the state has set up a toll-free customer service call center to field questions regarding Kynect. The call center currently receives over 100 calls a day, and the state plans to add more customer service representatives before October 1st. Assistance will also be available online and in-person.
Many of Kentucky’s major insurers, including Anthem and Humana, will offer plans through Kynect. Kentucky Health Cooperative, a new nonprofit health insurer, will also sell on the Exchange and will offer coverage options to persons on a state-wide basis. People will choose from four levels of plans with premiums and coverage levels differing depending on the level of the plan. However, every plan is required to cover hospitalizations, doctor visits, maternity care, emergency care, and prescriptions.
While people can begin shopping and enrolling on October 1st, coverage will not begin until January 1, 2014. However, in order to have coverage that begins on January 14th, individuals must enroll by December 15, 2013. Kynect represents a big change in the way people will be able to purchase their health insurance and, as Banahan believes, is a major step toward covering Kentucky’s uninsured.
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