Open enrollment begins Nov. 1

Published 3:49 pm Friday, October 28, 2016

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Kentuckians who qualify for health plans subsidized by tax credits, called Qualified Health Plans, will sign up on HealthCare.gov instead of Kynect during the open enrollment that begins Nov. 1.
Some Kynect advocates have voiced concern that the changeover will be troublesome, but Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokesman Doug Hogan said in an e-mail, “We expect a smooth transition to HealthCare.gov. People should be aware that Kynect is not health insurance, it is a website. This transition changes the web portal people use to enroll.”
Hogan said the state has sent letters about the transition to Kentuckians who have previously applied or been enrolled in health coverage through Kynect, to guide them through the process. He said the state will continue to send informational postcards throughout open enrollment, which ends Jan. 31.
“Only about 2 percent of Kentucky‚Äôs population purchases a QHP in a given year, so targeting resources to this group and doing it in the final month leading up to open enrollment and continuing through open enrollment is the most effective use of resources,” Hogan said.
Hogan said that starting Nov. 1, Kynect’s website will offer detailed messages about the transition and directions on when and were to apply for coverage. The HealthCare.gov website also has messages for Kentucky residents.

Where to get answers to your questions
The Kynect call center (855-459-6328) will remain available to help tell Kentuckians where to go for coverage, answer questions, pre-screen for program eligibility, and assist with Medicaid applications. The HealthCare.gov customer service call center (800-318-2596) is also available to help and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hogan said insurers are also sending notices to their enrollees about the changes; insurance agents and application assisters have advertising tool kits for their outreach efforts; and agents and assisters have been given lists of their QHP enrollees. Also, social media campaigns, media advertising and other measures have different start times around the state in strategically placed target areas with the highest uninsured rates and QHP eligible populations, he said.
If you qualify for a QHP in 2017, which is a plan that offers a tax credit to help cover out-of-pocket costs, you must sign up for your health insurance through HealthCare.gov this year instead of Kynect, as you have in the past.
“Kentuckians can only get the tax credit, called APTC or Advanced Premium Tax Credit or a Cost Sharing Reduction that helps cover out-of-pocket costs, by enrolling through HealthCare.gov,” Hogan said.
Open enrollment for these plans is Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, but to get coverage on Jan. 1, you must enroll by Dec. 15.