Beshear announces launch of Kynect, the state’s new online shop for health insurance; open enrollment starts Oct. 1

Gov. Steve Beshear has announced the launch of Kentucky’s Healthcare Connection, which is referred to as Kynect and is Kentucky’s one-stop onlineshop for the state’s new health insurance exchange.

Beginning next year, most Americans will be required to have health insurance, and Kynect is designed to help an estimated 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians get coverage through private insurance plans, Medicaid or the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program. The online service is also aimed to promote public education and awareness about the health benefit exchange, says a recent press release.

“When I issued an executive order last year creating a state-based health benefit exchange, I did so to ensure that our health benefit exchange would be designed to best meet the unique needs of Kentuckians,” Beshear said. “Individuals, families and small businesses will be able to use kynect for one-stop shopping to find health coverage and determine if they are eligible for payment assistance or tax credits to help cover costs.”

During open enrollment, which begins Oct. 1, Kentuckians and small businesses can compare and select health insurance plans using the Kynect website, a toll-free contact center, a mail-in application or in person, says the release. People can also use the website to find out if they qualify for payment assistance and special discounts on deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance.

For example, the website indicates that a family of four making $48,000 will receive a tax credit that can be used to pay insurance premiums, which is estimated to be $252 per month, in addition to government subsidies for medical care. A family of four making $80,000 will a receive tax credit too, and insurance premiums are estimated to be $634 per month. Small businesses can also use the website to see if they qualify for specific tax credits (Click here for a PDF fact sheet about payment assistance)

“Starting today, we are undertaking a major education and awareness campaign to ensure that all uninsured Kentuckians understand how Kynect can help them and their families find affordable health coverage,” said Audrey Haynes, secretary for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which will oversee Kynect along with the Kentucky Office of the Health Benefit Exchange.

Beshear created the health exchange by an executive order in July 2012. A recent lawsuit alleges this action was not authorized and should first be approved by the General Assembly. To date, Kentucky has received about $250 million in federal grants to cover the initial costs of exchange, but the state will be responsible for all funding for the exchange beginning in 2015. Kentuckians can visit the service’s website or watch the video below to learn more about the program. 

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