Reality Check: 4 things to know about Kynect health exchange

MGN Online
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Chances are you've heard the saying "Obamacare."

Despite a Texas senator's marathon, 21-hour filibuster and other Republican efforts to derail the Affordable Care Act, often called "Obamacare," one of its main elements is set to go into effect.

Kentucky joins other states Tuesday in starting its health care exchange which is designed as an easy way for the state's estimated 640,000 people without insurance to get health care coverage.

Commercials for the program called Kynect have already been airing across the state.

Here are four things to know before October 1, when you can sign up for the program.

1. What is it?

"It is a portal, a web-based portal where people can apply," said Carrie Banahan, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange.

Banahan heads up the massive project for the state.

"It will be similar to an Expedia or Travelocity type of shopping experience, where you'll enter your information and you can shop and compare the different plans that will be offered," said Banahan.

2. How much will it cost?

There are four different plans a person can choose from.

Just like car insurance, prices vary depending on things like deductibles and whether you want co-pays rather than paying completely out of pocket for doctor visits.

For a healthy, non-smoking, single 22 year old who earns less than $45,960 a year that price can be anywhere between $51 and $112 a month.

For a a family of four making less than $94,200 a year, it's between $403 and $641 a month.

3. Is everyone eligible?

Yes. But those on limited incomes are eligible for Medicaid, which is a different government program that covers the costs of their health care.

Those include individuals who earn less than $16,000 a year and families earning less than $32,500 a year.

4. Can people with employer-provided insurance use Kentucky's health exchange?.

In today's world, a benefit of having a full time job generally means you can purchase insurance through work.

Your employer pays part, you pay the rest.

"If your premium is more than 9.5 percent of your family income, then you can drop your employer insurance and purchase it on the exchange," said Banahan.

Actual coverage begins Jan. 1.

Also part of the new healthcare law is a mandate that virtually all Americans get health insurance or face a fine.

That fine is $95 per person or one percent of your income- whichever is more.

In 2016, the fine goes up to almost $700 or two and a half percent of your income.

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