Changes to Kentucky health insurance coming soon

More than 400,000 Kentuckians will soon have to change how they get health insurance. 

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1. Patients who were covered through kynect will now go through healthcare.gov. Many doctors are worried about how confusing the switch can be, but are more worried about the future of Medicaid expansion.

Between 15 and 20 percent of Dr. Shawn Jones’ patients are on Medicaid, while another additional 15 to 20 percent are on Medicare. Jones says he sees the advantage in making sure all Kentuckians are covered. But, he says the current system should be tweaked. “You try to solve one problem and maybe inadvertently it results in another, and I think that’s what you’re seeing,” he said.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed, Jones saw patients who neglected their health because they didn’t have insurance. Today, he says he’s also seeing patients with private insurance neglecting their health because of rising premiums. “It’s being required more of them to support the cost for everyone to be able to cover those on the lower end," he said. 

It’s why the CEO of the Kentucky Medical Association stopped by Paducah Tuesday to talk about the rising costs of health care and the rising health problems in Kentucky. “We lead the country in smoking. We lead the country in deaths by cancer. We’re one of the leaders in the country by heart disease,” Patrick Padgett said.

While Jones is worried about funding Medicaid expansion long term and the effects it has on private insurance rates, he said he’s also concerned for his patients on a tight budget.

Healthcare.gov is for people who do not get insurance through their employers. If you qualify for Medicaid expansion, you’ll go through benefind.ky.gov. Benifind is for Kentuckians who earn between 24 and 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

Tennessee and Missouri opted not to take the federal money to expand Medicaid. Illinois has its own exchange, comparable to kynect, at getcoveredillinois.gov. 

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