Coverage required by law
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 09, 2015) — Open enrollment for kynect runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2016. Health coverage is now required by law. Those who do not obtain coverage could face a tax penalty — in addition to the personal risks associated with not having coverage.
Since kynect was established, Kentucky has grown from three insurance companies in 2014 selling policies in the individual market on the exchange to seven, the largest number of carriers in the individual market in Kentucky since the late 1990s.
“Kentucky is the hands-down national leader in helping its people access affordable health care coverage and this year is no exception,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “We encourage people who are currently uninsured and those who previously purchased a plan on kynect to come back and shop again during open enrollment, because they may find a better plan for their family.”
All health plans sold on kynect will be available to preview Oct. 16. Last month, federal Census data reported Kentucky’s uninsured rate had declined to 8.5 percent, making it the biggest drop in the number of uninsured in the country from 2013 to 2014.
For the 2016 open enrollment, individuals who have previously purchased a qualified health plan through kynect will soon be receiving a letter in the mail advising them of the many options available through kynect for the 2016 plan year.
Depending on where an individual lives, kynect enrollees could choose from as many as seven insurance companies with expanded provider networks offering a total of 86 private health insurance plans. The insurance carriers for 2016 are Aetna, Anthem, Baptist Health, CareSource, Humana, United Healthcare and WellCare. Two insurers, Anthem and United Healthcare of Kentucky, will offer plans to residents in all 120 Kentucky counties.
One current insurer, the Kentucky Health Cooperative, has notified kynect that it will not offer plans on the exchange for 2016. Current policyholders with the Kentucky Health Cooperative will continue to be covered through their existing policies, most of which expire Dec. 31. Policyholders with questions about their current coverage can contact the Cooperative or the Kentucky Department of Insurance (800-595-6053). The Department of Insurance will be working with the Kentucky Health Cooperative to assure that services are delivered and current policies are honored. Questions about open enrollment should be directed to kynect.
“We have seen consistent growth in the number of insurers offering plans on kynect over the last two years, and now the competition has increased to seven carriers selling plans on kynect and all Kentuckians, including current policyholders with the Co-op, will have at least two options of insurance companies in their counties for 2016,” Beshear said. “I encourage everyone who has a private insurance plan, whether it was purchased through kynect or is a pre-ACA policy they’ve previously renewed, to visit kynect and check out all the plan options that are now available. They may find a plan with better benefits at a lower cost than what they have now.”
Kynect will debut a brand new shopping tool that will further assist consumers in targeting their search for the plan that best fits their unique insurance needs.
The shopping tool can help estimate the annual medical cost for a household and help determine the most cost effective plans that are available for individuals and families on kynect.
With the tool, a user can assess the overall health status of household members, enter their current health care providers, select existing medical conditions, identify any future medical needs (surgery, pregnancy, etc.) and enter prescription drugs that are used by the household.
Many Kentuckians will qualify for special discounts and subsidies, which are only available for plans purchased through kynect. Individuals can determine if they qualify for special discounts or a subsidy by visiting the kynect website and using the pre-screening tools.
All plans sold on kynect must offer 10 essential health benefits, including doctor visits, hospitalization and emergency care; maternity and newborn care; pediatric care, including dental and vision coverage; prescriptions; medical tests; mental health care and substance abuse treatment; physical, speech and occupational therapy; and wellness checks. All plans must cover preventive care at no extra cost to the consumer, including flu and pneumonia shots and routine vaccinations. Plans must also cover most cancer screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies.