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Kentucky Prepares To Open Online Health Insurance Marketplace

Kentucky's health insurance exchange—an element of Obamacare— opens Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Kentuckians. For the first time they’ll be able to shop around online for health insurance that’s competing for business.

The online marketplacecalled Kynect (Kentucky’s Healthcare Connection) was created from the Affordable Care Act and aims to get everyone insured as part of massive healthcare reforms passed by Congress. Kentucky has decided to run its own exchange, which will act as an online marketplace where the people can compare plans from approved healthcare providers and select a plan that fits them best.“The advantage for the consumer is, perhaps for the first time in Kentucky, is to be able to on an apples to apples comparison actually look at health coverages that are the same,” says Janie Miller, CEO for the Kentucky Health Cooperative, which was formed out of the law and will act as one of several insurance providers people can choose from.Those who choose not to buy insurance will pay a penalty.The enrollment period will last through March, and Miller says it should be user friendly and there should be help for people who are not computer literate or where English is not the primary language.“I think for the first time this should be an easier, less mysterious way, if you will, of understanding what it is you’re purchasing and what your options are,” she says.Of the more than 600,000 uninsured Kentuckians, 50,000 will not be eligible for either the Medicaid expansion—which is also part of the Affordable Care Act—or premium subsidies through exchange, officials say.Carrie Banahan, director of Kentucky’s Health Benefit Exchange, shared some cost examples of with members of the General Assembly last week, according to reports from Kentucky Public Radio.Banahan says a couple making $34,000 a year would qualify for a monthly federal subsidy of $520 dollars a month. She says this would mean the couple would pay $47 a month for health insurance.To access the exchange, click here. To see a list of examples for how much you may have to pay, click here.(Image via Shutterstock)