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Healthcare.gov open enrollment now through Dec. 15

The 2019 Marketplace health insurance open enrollment began this month, and will continue through Dec. 15, for coverage beginning Jan. 1. The Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange (KHBE) within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is working to ensure Kentuckians are prepared, informed and have the resources they need to choose a 2019 health plan.

“Open enrollment is your annual health insurance check up,” said Edith Slone, director of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. There are many life changes that may have occurred to people using the exchange during the past year that “will directly impact their monthly premium and their plan,” she said.

Questions to ask yourself when choosing a plan include: Are you gaining a family member through marriage, birth or adoption? Are you losing a family member who is aging out of your plan or through divorce? Are there new medical issues in your family or personally that will require more services? Are all of your doctors, prescriptions and hospitals still in network? Has has your income changed?

Slone also suggested that people look at how much they spent last year on health insurance and services to try to determine if they should buy a more inclusive plan or a less expensive plan with a higher deductible.

According to a news release from Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, many Kentuckians who don’t want to make changes to their plans will be automatically re-enrolled, but everyone is encouraged to check the status of their enrollment and selected coverage options.

In many cases, policyholders will have the same plan for 2019 or their coverage will move from their current plan to an available 2019 option that most closely matches their current coverage.

CHFS is using a comprehensive campaign to reach current policyholders and potential new enrollees. These targeted efforts include direct mail, text messages, phone calls and email. Additionally, KHBE is coordinating with community assisters who service every county in the state.

Assisters are available to answer any questions and direct those who need assistance in choosing a plan, Slone said. To find an assistor online, go to kyhbe.com, which is a mobile site that allows users to find events and assisters in this area. It also provides a link to the agent help on demand search to enable an insurance agent to call you directly.

“All these individuals will be able to point a person in the right direction and provide application assistance and point to tools to help an individual choose a plan to meet their needs. Insurance agents are licensed to provide help in choosing an health insurance plan,” Slone said.

Three assissters that list Boyle County as a region they service include:

• Linda East at Community Action Kentucky, (859) 339-2308, linda.east@bgcap.org;

• Kimberly Velasco Reyes, Community Action Kentucky, (502) 682-0512, Kim.velasco@bgcap.org; and

• Pat Niceley, Community Action Kentucky (800) 456-3452,pat@capky.org.

People can also visit healthbenefitexchange.ky.gov to find an event in this area or to locate a nearby assistor who can answer questions and guide them through the application process.

“Some Kentucky counties now offer two options for health insurance carriers. Anthem has expanded its service area to cover an additional 34 counties over its 2018 offerings,” Slone said.

“Remember to update your application even if you were covered last year so you can get the most current information on what savings are available to you and so you can find a plan that meets your needs.”

About 80 percent of Kentuckians enrolled in the exchange qualify for tax credits or subsidies that reduce their monthly health insurance premiums. For most of those who quality, the credits will offset any premium increases, so the cost of insurance in 2019 will be about the same as this year.

The state-based call center is available at (855) 459-6328 to assist Kentuckians with questions about where to go for coverage. The call center can help prescreen for program eligibility and help with questions and information. The healthcare.gov customer service center is also available. It can be reached by calling (800) 318-2596. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Current plan holders and those who want to view 2019 options on the exchange can go to healthcare.gov and use the shopping tool. For new users, the federal marketplace requires the creation of a user account and a completed online application.

SO YOU KNOW

Three health insurance market assissters that list Boyle County as a region they service include:

• Linda East at Community Action Kentucky, (859) 339-2308, linda.east@bgcap.org;

• Kimberly Velasco Reyes, Community Action Kentucky, (502) 682-0512, Kim.velasco@bgcap.org; and

• Pat Niceley, Community Action Kentucky (800) 456-3452,pat@capky.org.