Marketplace health insurance open enrollment begins Nov. 1

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Health Insurance
Graphic Courtesy: MGN Online

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Open Enrollment for 2018 Marketplace health insurance plans at healthcare.gov is quickly approaching.  The Health Benefit Exchange (HBE), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is working to ensure Kentuckians are prepared,informed and have the resources they need to choose a 2018 health plan.

This years open enrollment, which runsfrom November 1 until December 15,is whats known as a passive enrollment period. Kentuckians who already have a health plan purchased on the exchange do not have to do anything for their coverage to continue in 2018. Policyholders will have the same plan for 2018 or their coverage will move from their current plan to an available 2018 option that most closely matches their current coverage.

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CHFS is using a multifaceted campaignto reach currentpolicyholdersand potential new enrollees. These targeted efforts includedirect mail, text messages,phonecalls and emailsto ensure the current 76,000marketplace users are aware of their 2018 coverage options.

CHFS and HBE are working to make current and potential exchange customers aware of the tax credits and premium subsidies that are still available on the federal marketplace exchange, for those who qualify.Current plan holders, and those who want to view 2018 options on the exchange, can now go to healthcare.gov and use the shopping tool.For new users, the federal marketplace requires the creation of a user account and a completed online application.

About 80 percent of Kentuckians enrolled in the exchange qualify for tax credits or subsidies that reduce their monthly health insurance premiums. For most of those who quality, the credits will off-set premium increases so the cost of insurance in 2018 will be about the same. Insurance cost scenarios, calculated by HBE, are in the document attached as part of this release.

HBE iscoordinating with community assisterswho service every county in the Commonwealth. Assistors and HBE staff will be at more than 400 community outreach events across the state. To find an event in your area or to locate an assistor near you, simply log onto:healthbenefitexchange.ky.gov. The website also includes Kentucky specific 2018 net payment examples for all regions of the state and 2018 sample scenarios for individuals and families.

The state-based call center is available at 855-459-6328 to assist Kentuckians with questions about where to go for coverage. The call center can help pre-screen for program eligibility and help with questions and information. The HealthCare.gov customer service center is also available. It can be reached by calling 800-318-2596.

The healthcare.gov call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.