Today kicks off a 6-month open enrollment period when families can start comparing their options in a new, competitive health insurance marketplace called kynect in Kentucky. If you don’t have access to health insurance through an employer or Medicare, you can go to kynect to see if you are eligible for Medicaid or discounted private insurance. You can select a plan that your family is eligible for and also one that fits your family’s needs. Those with employer-offered coverage or Medicare can keep it.
The launch of kynect brings many changes to Kentucky’s health care system that have the potential to improve child and family health in multiple ways:
- Kynect and expanded Medicaid eligibility will help both uninsured parents become insured and will also help children. Parents who have health coverage are more likely to enroll and keep their children enrolled in health coverage, resulting in more children staying connected to the health system.
- Children enrolled in KCHIP or Medicaid can renew their applications online, easing the burden on families who previously had to mail in applications or go into an office to apply. This will help parents easily keep their children’s insurance active and prevent gaps in coverage.
- The health plans offered on kynect will include behavioral health and substance abuse services. This is an important step in ensuring health plans cover services that address not only physical health needs but also emotional and mental health needs. Given that Kentucky has high rates of children and adults that struggle with mental health issues, this is good news for our state.
- Foster care youth will be eligible for Medicaid coverage until age 26. This will ensure that this population of young adults, many of who lack stable income or a support network, will have consistent and affordable health coverage.
- Children will no longer have to go without health insurance for 6 months before they can enroll in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) when they move from private to public health coverage. The elimination of this waiting period will help children enroll in KCHIP as soon as their families’ incomes become eligible, thus eliminating gaps in health insurance coverage.
- Legally residing immigrant children who have been in the United States for less than five years will be eligible to enroll in Medicaid and KCHIP. This will help more children receive health coverage and needed care to keep them healthier overall.
We are moving in the right direction on increasing health coverage for kids. As we celebrate this, it is important Kentucky leaders continue to use every available policy tool to cover uninsured kids and families; make sure coverage translates into care; and make sure coverage address a full range of health needs – from physical and mental to vision and dental.
More info about kynect and the enrollment process, check out this story for more information: http://www.wdrb.com/story/23478243/guide-to-kentuckys-online-health-exchange
To find out what type of insurance your family is eligible for, visit http://kynect.ky.gov/ or call 1-855-4kynect