|By Mary Meehan, Lexington Herald-Leader|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
In fact, beginning
What is this?
Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, every American -- with very limited exceptions -- must have health insurance or face a penalty. State officials estimate 640,000 people are without health insurance in
What happens if I am on
State officials have said people now on
Will someone contact me about signing up?
It doesn't work that way. It is up to everyone to determine the best option for themselves and their families and to take action. There will be help available.
The center of activity for health care reform in
What can I do today?
About 60 people have been answering questions since a
What are the plan options?
A platinum plan has a higher premium but lower out-of-pocket costs. A bronze plan has a lower premium and higher out-of-pocket cost. Specific coverage details will be available when open enrollment begins
What companies are offering plans through the state program?
There are five providers sanctioned in
What determines how much I will pay for insurance?
The rating system takes into account four things -- your age, where you live, whether you smoke or otherwise use tobacco, and how many people are on your policy.
Wait -- if you smoke or use tobacco?
What if I have a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes?
You cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
What do I need to do to get insurance?
You can sign up for health insurance beginning
Is enrolling early better?
Those who apply by
What if I can't afford it?
Kynect.ky.gov will be connected to federal databases -- including
The program does place a cap on what percentage of your income must be spent on health insurance.
Is there any other type of assistance?
There is also some assistance available to defer the cost of out-of-pocket expenses. But to be eligible for that particular assistance, the state requires that you enroll in a silver-level plan. The insurance company doesn't matter, but it must be a silver-level plan.
What if I don't qualify for assistance?
You can still buy health insurance at Kynect.ky.gov, or you can go directly to an insurance company. You will pay the full premium. The state has said only about 50,000 currently uninsured Kentuckians will have to pay the full premium.
Is there help using Kynect?
Yes. Here are some options.
-- Public libraries: The state is training library staffs to help people without home Internet access to use library computers to access the website.
-- Call-center workers can answer questions for people who are on KyNect.
-- Public health departments are also being asked to assist with outreach and education.
What are the "navigators"?
Navigators are specially trained folks who can help you determine which plan is best for you. Navigators also will help fill out paperwork.
Community Action Kentucky and the
A form and instructions on how to participate as a certified application counselor are available at Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, HealthBenefitExchange.Ky.Gov. This opportunity is open to representatives of health care organizations and certain nonprofits, and mental health outreach workers or other designated groups. These people will be doing outreach work, going out into the community to tell people about what is going on and helping them to sign up.
There are several levels of training but overall the state is calling the group as a whole "Kynectors" (pronounced "connectors").
So these people can me tell which plan to pick?
No. People working for the state in the call center or out in the community are specifically instructed not to recommend individual plans. The only people who may recommend individual plans are health insurance agents or brokers. About 3,400 insurance professionals have been trained in the system.
What if I don't sign up for insurance?
If you don't sign up for health insurance of some kind, you will have to pay a fee. In 2014 it will be 1 percent of your annual income, or
In 2016, it will be 2.5 percent of your income or
Sources: Kentucky Cabinet for
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