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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentuckians without medical coverage will soon have access to affordable insurance online.
Nichole Gastinger, an uninsured mother of four with a seizure disorder who is only seeing doctors at the hospital explains, "It will make it a whole lot easier and a whole lot less stressful."
Jeb Baumgardner, a full-time housekeeper with diabetes who is collecting cans to get by, wants to know, "How much is it going to be?"
On October 1st, these people and 640,000 other uninsured Kentuckians can buy affordable medical coverage through the state, online. "How do you sign up, and what's the website?" is Gastinger's question.
It's Barbara Gordon's job to answer those exact questions. The Kentucky Regional Planning and Development Agency received a $900,000 grant to serve as a connector to Kentucky's online health exchange.
It will work in a 16-county region in and around Louisville answering questions on how to sign up. "It's really going to be easy," Gordon promises.
First step -- log onto the Kentucky Connect website at http://kynect.ky.gov. Set up a username and start registering. Gordon says, "You'll need to provide basic information like name and age and address you'll also need to have your household information."
You'll also need to provide information on dependents and annual household income. Once complete you'll move to costs and benefits.
Gordon says, "The system will help them to know whether they'll receive extra help and support paying their monthly premiums." Many will fall into the expanded Medicaid category.
From there you will also pick a coverage level, either bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. Premiums and out-of-pocket costs vary based on the plan you chose.
The next set is to shop and compare. Gordon says, "shop and compare is where you will be able to see the different insurance company plans and what they have to offer."
This is Kentucky's implementation of the Federal Affordable Care Act, often known as Obamacare. Though the exchange is still being challenged, the Cabinet of Health and family Services is saturating the airwaves with messages, because in less than two weeks healthcare reform in Kentucky happens.
"This is new for everybody in the country," Gordon says. "New for everyone in Kentucky, and new is often scary."
Insurance coverages start in January, and those who don't sign up by April may face penalties. If you get insurance through your employer, you are not affected and do not have to sign up. There will be several in-person help sessions in our area in the coming weeks and months.