At least one additional health-insurance company is expected to sell policies on Kynect exchange next year

The five insurance companies that sold policies this year on Kynect, Kentucky’s health-benefit exchange, want to return in 2015, and Dayton, Ohio-based CareSource wants to join as well. Officials said they believe other insurers will sign up to sell policies next year, too, which will benefit consumers, Jack Brammer writes for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

“”Consumers benefit from the choices that come with more competition,” Insurance Commissioner Sharon P. Clark said. Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes said she hopes than even more Kentucky residents will set aside time to examine the plans on Kynect when the second round of open enrollment begins Nov. 15.

Anthem, Humana, Bluegrass Family Health, United Healthcare of Kentucky and Kentucky Health Cooperative offered plans on the exchange this year, and Humana was the only one that didn’t offer small group market insurance, for two to 50 people. Humana, Anthem and the cooperative offered individual coverage.

Jonathan Copley, CareSource’s executive director for Kentucky, said the company’s participation in Kynect is “an extension of our commitment to provide affordable coverage to Kentuckians who need it most. We are expanding our reach to one of Ohio’s bordering states to offer affordable health care coverage. Kynect represents a successful model on the marketplace, and we are excited to offer CareSource.”

Though the tentative deadline for insurers to request to be on the exchange was April 1, the official deadline has been extended as a result of inquiries, Brammer reports.

In Kynect’s first open-enrollment period, from Oct. 1 through March 31 about 421,000 Kentuckians enrolled for coverage, and the increasing number of insurers seems to be a sign even more people will sign up next year. Last month The New York Times reported that “8 million people signed up for coverage in 2014 under the federal health care law and that estimates put next year’s national enrollment near 13 million,” Brammer writes.

This year monthly rates for those enrolled in Kynect ranged from $47 for older couples without dependents to $403 for families of four with a total income of $70,000 per year. Health and Family Services spokeswoman Jill Midkiff told Brammer that an average premium wasn’t calculated because of the many variables such as age and family membership. (Read more)

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