Kentuckians encouraged to sign up for health care

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Kentucky Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson will participate in 'kynect' news conferences as open enrollment kicks off.

Kynect is "Kentucky's healthcare connection," or an online service which allows you to compare and select insurance plans. The site launched Tuesday at midnight, and as of 7 a.m. Wednesday, officials say 88,119 unique website visitors had clicked on seeking information about affordable health care in the Commonwealth.

Abramson will be at the Kenton County Health Department in Covington at 1:30 p.m., located at 2002 Madison Avenue.

Frequently Asked Questions about Affordable Care Act for Kentuckians:

1. What is a health benefit exchange?

A health benefit exchange is an organized marketplace for individuals and employees of small businesses to shop for health insurance based on price and quality. In Kentucky, that marketplace is called kynect. Federal law requires each state to have an online health insurance marketplace to ensure that all Americans have access to quality healthcare.

2. Why was it created?

Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order to create a state-based health benefit exchange to best meet the needs of Kentuckians. Kynect will provide simple, one-stop shopping for individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance and receive payment assistance or tax credits.

3. How many Kentuckians are uninsured?

An estimated 640,000 Kentuckians are uninsured as of 2013, or 14.9 percent of the state's population or approximately one in six Kentuckians.

4. When will I be able to sign up for kynect?

Open enrollment begins Oct. 1, 2013, and runs through March 31, 2014, with coverage beginning as soon as January 2014.

5. What happens if I don't have health insurance?

Beginning January 2014, most Americans will be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty. By using kynect to purchase a health insurance plan, you may be eligible for payment assistance to help cover the costs of coverage for you and your family. kynect will also check to see if you are eligible for programs like Medicaid or the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program.

6. I want health insurance, but I can't afford it. What will I do?

By using kynect, you may receive payment assistance or tax credits to help cover the costs of coverage for you and your family. kynect will allow you to compare and select insurance plans, and find out if you qualify for programs like Medicaid or the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program.

7. What if I make too much money for Medicaid, but still can't afford to buy insurance?

Based on your household size and income, you may be eligible for payment assistance to help you pay for healthcare coverage you purchase through kynect.

8. Will it be easier for me to get coverage even if I have health problems?

Health insurance companies will no longer be able to reject people or charge more based on health status, beginning in January 2014.

9. I own a small business. Will I have to buy health insurance for my workers?

No small employer is required to provide insurance coverage. If you have a small business with fewer than 50 people, you won't face any penalties. In addition, if you own a small business with 25 or fewer employees, there may be significant tax credits available through kynect to help cover the cost of insurance. Businesses with 50 or more employees that don't provide health insurance may face penalties starting in 2015.

10. I already have health insurance, or I'm on Medicare. Do I have to buy a new plan?

Most people in Kentucky already have some form of health insurance, either provided through their jobs, Medicare, Medicaid, or through a private plan they've purchased on their own (such as for people who are self-employed).

If you already have health insurance, you don't have to do anything new or different.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.