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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Enrollment is now open for Kynect, Kentucky's new health care marketplace.

In-state residents can enroll from Nov. 1, 2021, to Jan. 15, 2022.

The new plans go into effect Jan. 1, 2022, allowing people time to review plan details from the insurer. The switch to a state-based marketplace is expected to save Kentuckians $15 million.

WDRB sat down with Eric Friedlander, Kentucky's secretary of Health and Family Services to go over who it's for and advice for signing up.

Sterling Riggs:

Kynect relaunches after a five-year absence and puts a variety of health insurance options in one place in Kentucky, I can go online today to sign up for health insurance.

Candyce Clifft:

Eric Freelander, who joins us. He is the Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Let's start with the main question. What is Kynect?

Sec. Eric Friedlander:

So Kynect is the state-based marketplace, where you can go and get health insurance. You can also sign up for Medicaid among other benefits, and it's an easy way to sign up and get healthcare, if you're not covered by your employer.

Sterling Riggs:

Who is eligible to use the service?

Sec. Eric Friedlander:

Well, really anybody can use it, but if you have healthcare coverage by your employer, you'll have healthcare coverage. The other thing is we've expanded connect somewhat. So you can go on for all sorts of benefits now, including SNAP and childcare and other things.

Candyce Clifft:

And sign up for all of those in one place, sort of a clearing house, how much does it cost someone on average, if they have to go and buy their own health care coverage?

Sec. Eric Friedlander:

Oh, it's pretty expensive, but here's the thing. We're re-enrolling folks now from federal exchange to the state exchange. So folks sometimes passively enroll. What I suggest is shop around -- I think, Smokey Robinson did that, maybe Captain & Tennille -- but that's the important thing. These plans are all different. They're all a little bit different costs. So you need to check and see what hospital do you use, make sure that's in there. What, prescription medications do you have? Make sure they're on there. Who's your doctor make sure that doctors are part of it. That's really the way that to do it.

And then you can shop by price and there are three different levels. There's bronze and silver and gold. Obviously it's different levels of coverage, so it's hard to say what the average is, but because it's also very different.

Sterling Riggs:

You go on the Kynect website and you can find this information?

Sec. Eric Friedlander:

You can, that's why I say shop around. There are two things you can do as well. On the Kynect website, you can look for a navigator or an agent like an insurance agent, regular insurance agent, and, and go and talk to them as well. So you can ... go on, you can click on kynector or agent, and they can help you sign up and help you shop too.

Candyce Clifft:

What would you say to people who do not have employer sponsored health insurance and are sitting at home, hearing this thinking, 'I don't know. That's still going to be a whole lot of money. I'm not sure I want to sign up'?

Sec. Eric Friedlander:

Well, you know, there's some new federal subsidies. There are some federal subsidies that help you pay for, it's called, the advanced payment tax credit. Sorry, that gets a little geeky, but there is federal assistance to help lower the cost of the benefit. Again, you need to shop around. We had several plans that decreased their rates this year, which is great news, but the other part of it is that federal help is based on the second lowest silver plan, which went down. So there's a little bit less help from the feds this year. But again, shop around. You're probably going to get tired of me saying that. I'm sorry, but, it's really important to do that.

Candyce Clifft:

All right, Eric, thank you for coming this morning.

Sec. Eric Friedlander:

Oh my pleasure. Thank you all. Thank you all for covering this, it's important. Healthcare is important, right?

Free help is available to Kentuckians during the Open Enrollment Period from Nov. 1, 2021 to Jan. 15, 2022. See details below:

  • Health coverage assistance (Medicaid, Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program, Qualified Health Plan with payment assistance): click here
  • kynectors, insurance agents and authorized representatives: click here
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program: click here
  • Kentucky Department of Insurance: click here
  • SHOP plans: click here

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