benefind (Kentucky Assistance Program)
Foothills is now offering assistance for local residents in understanding their options for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or health care law.
The ACA, signed on March 23, 2010 by President Obama, contains new health insurance coverage and financial assistance options for individuals and families. A key component of the ACA took effect on October 1, 2013 when Kentucky’s online health care exchange, kynect, officially opened. kynect provides residents with an insurance marketplace where consumers can sort and compare plans, and find out if they qualify for federal programs or tax credits.
Community Action Kentucky (CAK) and 12 other Community Action Affiliates have been selected by the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange to serve as “kynectors” to assist consumers who enroll for healthcare benefits through kynect.
The exchange hopes to reach about 640,000 Kentuckians who currently have no form of health insurance. Provisions of the ACA will start to take effect within the next six months, and include an individual mandate for health insurance that requires people to obtain coverage or otherwise pay a penalty. People opting to go without coverage will be required to pay a penalty of $95 per adult per year and $47.50 per child or 1 percent of the family income, whichever is greater, with some exemptions for religious groups.
Foothills has hired and trained three “kynectors,” pronounced “connectors,” to work in Clark, Estill, Jackson, Madison, Powell, and Rockcastle counties providing education services and enrollment assistance to individuals for expanded Medicaid and/or Qualified Health Plans or the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Qualifying small businesses with 2-50 employees will be eligible to participate in SHOP.
kynectors, also called navigators, are paid employees but their services will be offered free to anyone who wants them. This service is open to everyone, there are no income guidelines for help. Insurance plans purchased through the exchange or privately through an insurance agent or broker will cost the same whether assistance is used or not. kynectors cannot recommend plans, but can help individuals and small businesses understand the offerings and determine what is best for them.
Foothills’ goal over the next six months is to help as many of these families as possible understand their options and sign up for affordable coverage, or to enroll in Medicaid and/or Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Foothills kynectors will be available to attend public events, festivals and health fairs to get information out to the public and assist individuals. kynectors will also have night and weekend hours. Organizations, health care providers and civic groups are encouraged to reach out to Foothills to schedule a kynector for an event.
kynect is administered by Kentucky Health and Human Services Department. Kentuckians can access the exchange at kyenroll.ky.gov or by calling a toll-free hotline at 1-855- 4kynect (459-6328).
Funding for this service was provided by CAK in the amount of $123,042 and will be available through June 2013.
Residents seeking assistance are invited to contact Foothills to schedule an appointment with a kynector below:
Clark & Madison Counties
Estill & Powell Counties
Jackson & Rockcastle Counties
Shelly Howard, Director of Community Services
30 Spangler Drive
Richmond, KY 40475