Louisville hospitals get grant to help people get health coverage; Jan. 31 is last day to get insurance or face a federal tax penalty

Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation, part of KentuckyOne Health, has received a $108,000 grant to help uninsured people understand their health insurance options and get coverage for 2016, with a focus on reaching those with cultural or language barriers.

“Research shows that individuals with health coverage are three times more likely to receive preventive care and screenings,” Alice Bridges, vice president of healthy communities for KentuckyOne, said in a news release. “Helping individuals enroll in health coverage plans is a critical tool in our efforts to create a healthier Kentucky.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant will allow the hospital to train additional “Kynectors,” advisers who help people unfamiliar with health insurance buy it through the Kynect insurance exchange, and expand its outreach through mobile enrollment sites. KentuckyOne has also partnered with Family Health Centers of Louisville and the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency to increase its outreach.

The grant is meant to “enroll hard-to-reach populations to include the homeless, justice-involved individuals, and immigrants/refugees; improve take-up rates for individuals eligible for qualified health plans; support Medicaid enrollees in maintaining coverage which is often lost due to low comprehension of how to use and keep benefits; and addressing gaps in accessing data maintained at the State level to ensure accurate measurement of outcomes,” says the release.

Kentuckians have until Jan. 31 to sign up for subsidized insurance through Kynect, the state’s online insurance marketplace, or face a penalty of $695 per adult and $347 for each child (up to $2,085 per family), or 2.5 percent of annual household income, whichever is higher. Enrollment in the Medicaid program, for people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, is year-round.

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