Going to Market...the Health Insurance Market
On October 1, the Kansas Health Insurance Exchange also known as a “marketplace,” opened for business. This means that those who are uninsured can search for and purchase health insurance now available to them due to the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Marketplace will be open for enrollment until 3/31/14. Those enrolled by 12/15/13 will have their insurance take effect on 1/1/14.
A health insurance exchange is an online portal where consumers can shop for health insurance. It will allow prospective buyers to view the selection of insurance providers and their different plans, which must meet standards set by the ACA. For people who qualify for premium or cost-sharing subsidies, the exchange is where the subsidies can be obtained.
Kansas is using the federal health insurance exchange. According to www.healthinsurance.org/kansas, the Kansas Health Insurance Exchange offers the following services:
- Benefit options so consumers can compare plans.
- A toll-free hotline where people can ask question and get help. (1-800-318-2596)
- A Navigator program to assist those consumers who need help negotiating the enrollment process through the website. In Lawrence, the Navigator is at Heartland Community Health Center. Several other local agencies including the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department have Certified Application Counselors who can assist with information provision but are not able to enroll consumers.
- Certification of the health plans that sell policies through the exchange and oversight that the health plans comply with regulatory standards and requirements.
- An online calculator so consumers can determine their costs including any credits or subsidies available to the consumer.
- Interaction with other computer systems and databases to determine if consumers are eligible for tax credits or subsidies on the exchange or if they qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Certification of individuals who are exempt from the federal mandate.
For more information on the health insurance marketplace in Kansas, go to www.insureKS.org
To compare plans or to begin the enrollment process, go to www.healthcare.gov/marketplace
LMH along with community partners – Heartland Community Health Center, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, and the Lawrence Public Library, is offering four information forums to help the community learn more about the Kansas Health Insurance Exchange.
Forum Dates: Tuesday October 22 at 7:00 pm, Thursday October 24 at 3:00 pm, Friday November 8 at 1:30 pm. No advance registration necessary. All programs in the LMH Auditorium.