Out-of-state health providers could cost more out-of-pocket

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Reporter- Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist- Mason Watkins

PADUCAH- Programs like KYnect are popping up in some states across the country to help Americans comply with the Affordable Health Care Act. Jackie Eubanks is just one of the Program Managers helping people navigate the website and get signed up correctly. She told Local 6 picking a policy can be a tedious task.

"It's like any insurance policy that you would buy on the open market," explained Eubanks. "You need to know what the details are, what they cover who they cover, who's in network, who's out of network, and what the estimated costs are going to be."

Unfortunately, Anthem and the new non-profit Kentucky Health Cooperative are the only two carriers available through the exchange and as of now, neither of them offer individual policies that cover health providers in other states. For example, doctors who work out of Vanderbilt aren't covered for Kentucky residents through the two carriers. Emergencies are exemptions.

However, Kentucky Health Cooperative does have a national network agreement with First Health which does allow for patients to cross state lines.

Crystal Reid, Vice President of Western Rivers Insurance, said Kynect employees aren't allowed to help clients pick a policy because they aren't licensed insurance agents, but she and her colleagues can. She said it's very important that people look for policies that cover their current doctors and hospitals.

She added that even that is a challenge now, because like most Americans, many health providers haven't signed up yet.

"So someone who may not be in network today may be in network by January 1, they may just not have signed up yet," she said.

While your instinct may be to wait to see who exactly signs up and is covered, Reid said to not wait too long. You have to be signed up by December 15 in order to have policies go into effect January 1.

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