Time is running out for Kentuckians who want to sign up for individual health insurance on Healthcare.gov.
Kentucky residents have until Saturday, December 15 at 11:59 p.m. to sign up for insurance. In case of a busy signal, the federal government has extended the deadline for people who are prompted to leave a message with the Healthcare.gov call center. Those people will have their call returned after December 15 and will be allowed to enroll in coverage for a start date of January 1.
According to a recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 29,509 Kentuckians — or about a quarter of uninsured people in Kentucky — would qualify for a “bronze” level individual market plan for free because of their income.
The bronze level plan doesn’t ensure that a person won’t have to pay costs when they go to use their insurance. For instance, bronze-level insurance plan deductibles average about $6,258. This would mean an enrollee would have to spend that much out-of-pocket before insurance starts paying claims.
People who qualify for a free bronze-level plan might also qualify for a better deal: a “silver” plan with a very low premium and a lower deductible, according to the Kaiser analysis.
By the time open enrollment had closed on December 15 of last year, 90,625 Kentuckians signed up for a plan. This means more than 50,000 people would need to enroll by Saturday to meet last year’s enrollment numbers in the state.
There are a number of factors that could contribute to the lower enrollment numbers. That includes the elimination of the individual mandate: consumers will no longer be penalized on their taxes for not having health insurance in 2019. And short-term health plans, which typically have lasted for three months, can now be used to cover people for up to a year. The short-term plans are usually a cheaper option than Healthcare.gov plans for people who don’t receive federal support to help them pay for coverage, but offer skimpier coverage.
The Healthcare.gov call center number is: 1-800-318-2596.