Friday, March 28, 2014

Kynect enrollment accelerates as Monday deadline nears; call center to be open form 8 to 4:30 Saturday and Sunday

Enrollment in coverage through the state's Kynect health-insurance exchange is accelerating as Monday's deadline for open enrollment approached.

State officials reported Friday that the rate has surpassed 4,000 per day, bringing the total to more than 350,000, or one of every 12 Kentuckians. Four-fifths of the enrollees are in Medicaid, which is open to adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty threshold and to children in households up to double the threshold.

Medicaid, funded mainly by the federal government, is free to beneficiaries. The insurance exchange offers private insurance plans with premium subsidies to people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty threshhold, about $96,000 for a family of four. A preliminary analysis has found that about three-fourths of enrollees report that they did not have insurance before signing up through Kynect.

Thousands of people have been found eligible for a subsidy to purchase a qualified health plan but have yet to select a plan. People who remain uninsured as of Tuesday, April 1, could face a financial penalty of $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater, under the federal health-reform law. The penalty applies to every uninsured member of a household and will increase each year.

“In these final days of open enrollment, we strongly encourage folks to complete their applications and choose a plan,” said Carrie Banahan, executive director of Kynect. “After March 31, the subsidies to help cover the cost of a private health plan won’t be available again until the fall enrollment period – and by that point, being without insurance may cost you on your taxes, not to mention keep you at risk for big bills from sickness or injury.”

Individuals can sign up online 24 hours a day at someone has started or filed an application by March 31 and has not been able to complete it through no fault of their own, Kynect says it will work with them to make sure they get enrolled. Individuals who have applied by March 31, but have not yet chosen a plan will have until April 15 to do so, with coverage beginning May 1.

The Kynect call center will be open through the weekend to help people navigate the exchange. For assistance, call 1-855-4kynect (1-855-459-6328) Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.

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