Open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance (Obamacare) begins Friday, Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15

Insurance Department maps, adapted by Kentucky Health News; click on either for a larger version.
Open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance in Kentucky next year will begin Friday, Nov. 1 and run through Dec. 15.

Plans will cost more or less than this year, depending on the insurer and the type of plan. And many consumers will have more choices.

Policies offered on the federal insurance exchange by Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky will be an average of 9.7 percent higher than last year. Plans from CareSource Kentucky will average 4.5 percent less than this year. CareSource is serving an expanded area, covering 83 counties. That means 56 of the state’s 120 counties will have more than one insurer to choose from on the exchange.

“The actual rates charged will vary based on individual plan selection and factors,” the state Department of Insurance noted in a August news release. Detailed rate filings are at
CareSource will offer 12 individual plans on the federal exchange, which must be used to get the tax credits for premiums. “These plans vary in levels from catastrophic to gold, and include nine different silver and bronze options,” the release said. Silver and bronze plans are in the middle range for premiums and deductibles under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.
Anthem will offer 13 individual plans, under different network and service area options. “The Anthem Pathway HMO service area includes seven approved plans. These plans, with a broad provider network, will be offered in 77 counties,” the release said. “The second option is the narrower Anthem Pathway Transition HMO, and includes six different plans available in 17 counties.” The areas overlap only in Hardin County.

The Insurance Department says that before enrollment opens, consumers should work with an agent, do their own research or contact the department to understand their options. “It is critical to review the details for each plan to minimize the potential for surprises later on,” Adkins said, “and ensure individuals purchase the plan that best suits their individual needs.”

If you fail to enroll by Dec. 15, the only way to enroll in a federally subsidized health plan is during a special enrollment period. To qualify for special enrollment, you must have a qualifying life event such as a change in family status (for example, marriage, divorce, birth, or adoption of a child), change in residence, or loss of other health coverage (such as loss of employer-based coverage, or loss of eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid).

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