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Time Is Running Out to Sign Up for Health Insurance Through Kentucky's Exchange

Phalinn Ooi/Creative Commons

Sunday is the deadline to enroll in Kentucky's health insurance exchange for 2015.

Last year, 521,000 people enrolled in either Medicaid or a qualified health insurance plan through the state's exchange, Kynect. After Sunday, people won't be able to sign up for insurance through the exchange without a qualifying event, said Kynect executive director Carrie Banahan.

Qualifying events include losing employer-sponsored coverage, divorcing a spouse whose policy provided coverage, moving to a new state, changes in income and a change in family size.  People can enroll in Medicaid throughout the year.

So far, more than 142,000 people have enrolled in coverage since open enrollment began in Nov. 15, said Banahan.

"This enrollment period has been slower than the last enrollment period," she noted.

Figures released Friday by Gov. Steve Beshear's office show that 20,167 people have newly enrolled in a qualified health plan, 46,422 people have enrolled in Medicaid, and 75,760 people have renewed their enrollment.

With half a million people gaining coverage, many for the first time, the agency has made tried to educate people on how to use their insurance, Banahan said.

They are also trying to spread the word about penalties for being uninsured.

This is the first year that people will have to declare their insurance status when they file their taxes. People who have not already claimed an exemption for 2014 will have to pay $95 per household member or 1 percent of their income, whichever is higher. The fine increases for those who are uninsured for 2015 to $325 per household member or 2 percent of their income, whichever is higher.

"What we're finding is that … individuals who are filing their taxes are finding that they're subject to the penalty," Banahan said.

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