As deadline looms to choose plan for coverage effective Jan. 1, calls flood Kynect contact center; agents get special number

By Melissa Landon
Kentucky Health News

The Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange contact center has been in unusually high demand this week because of the Wednesday, Jan. 15 deadline to sign up for a health care plan. Some insurance agents have voiced concerns about long waits, unreturned phone calls and slow issuance of insurance cards.

“People had to select a plan by January 15 to have a 1/1 effective date,” said Carrie Banahan, executive director of the exchange, branded as Kynect. “We allowed an extension, and people are calling at the last minute.”

It’s a complicated process. Transactions must take place, the information has to reach the insurance companies, and the companies must send out invoices and cards, said Bill Nold, Kynect’s deputy executive director. Banahan said it could take seven to 10 days after a premium is paid for policyholders to receive cards certifying they are insured.

“All of this has kind of come to a head just in the last week or so,” said Nold, “but probably not as quickly as people had hoped, and there’s some frustration.”

To help resolve the problem, a special phone number will be available for agents and the exchange’s paid “kynectors” to call, Banahan said. More than 30 people will be staffing the phones and will become familiar with the unique issues that agents and kynectors are experiencing, Banahan said.

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