What you need to know about Kentucky's healthcare transition

10/29/2016 08:55 PM

FRANKFORT – On Tuesday, November 1 Kentucky will officially be using the federal healthcare portal, healthcare.gov, and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is asking Kentuckians to prepare for the transition to the federal healthcare exchange.

According to the CHFS, nothing will change for Kentuckians previously enrolled in healthcare under kynect during 2016. However, Kentuckians seeking coverage will need to re-enroll for coverage in 2017.

Open enrollment for 2017 runs from Nov. 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2017. In order for healthcare coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2017 enrollment must be completed by Dec. 15, 2016.

Medicaid enrollees do not need to do anything until their renewal/rectification date to continue receiving coverage.

The cabinet notes that there will be fewer choices for plans during 2017 open enrollment, and that transitioning to healthcare.gov did not impact the number of plans consumers have to choose from. According to the Kaiser Foundation, Kentucky will drop from having seven insurer choices in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace to just three.

Insurers have found that their initial estimates of customer costs were optimistic, and now they are seeing losses in the marketplace as they are covering patients who before had gone without health insurance previously.

Premiums are increasing in the exchange by more than 20 percent, but the rate of increase does vary by individual. The amount of increase depends on the insurance provider and the plan, and if an enrollee receives a tax credit to lower their premium.

Most who purchase health insurance through the ACA marketplace get subsidies to help pay for the cost of premiums so they should not feel the full force of the increase.

For those buying insurance off of the individual marketplace premiums are rising, but not as drastically.

Where to Apply

While Kentuckians must now apply for insurance through healthcare.gov, the former healthcare portal, kynect, will still be working as a source to find information and help in transitioning to the federal exchange.

Starting on Nov. 1, kynect will offer detailed direction on when and where to apply, according to a press release from CHFS. Additionally, the kynect customer service contact center will assist with questions, prescreening eligibility, and Medicaid applications.

The number for the kynect call center is 855-459-6328, or consumers can call the federal exchange call center at 800-318-2596.

Madeline Janicki

Madeline is a producer for Spectrum News. You can watch her work on Pure Politics, the only statewide nightly show dedicated solely to Kentucky Politics. Madeline is an Indiana native and received her degree in Communications from Indiana University. Her background is as a news producer but her passion for civic engagement and drive to bring voters information on issues that impact their lives brought her to Pure Politics. Here she gets to work on projects like her multi-part digital series on how the national group Teach For America is working in Eastern Kentucky Schools. If you have a story idea, email her at Madeline.Janicki@charter.com.

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