Open enrollment in the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange officially begins today, almost sixteen months after its creation by executive order from Governor Steve Beshear.
Individuals and businesses can shop for insurance plans at either kynect.ky.gov, a toll-free contact center, a mail-in application, or in person through March 31st, 2014. Coverage for those approved could begin as soon as the first of January.
Kynect is the Commonwealth's implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It's designed to help uninsured residents get coverage through private plans or Medicaid, as well as the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program, or K-CHIP.
The Governor’s Office says four out of five Kentuckians who use kynect are expected to qualify for some level of financial assistance to help cover a portion of their healthcare costs. Businesses with fewer than fifty employees will also be able to choose to enroll workers in the plans offered through kynect.
The program will allow Kentuckians access to the available elements of the Affordable Care Act, meaning that no one can be denied coverage for a pre-existing health condition, that women cannot be charged more than men for the same coverage, and that no lifetime limits can be imposed on health care coverage.
The law also provides for children to remain on their parents' plan until the age of twenty-six and for the coverage of preventative care, pregnancy and infant care, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment. Kentucky's health benefits exchange is currently funded through federal grants. Officials expect it will be self-sustaining by 2015.