‘Kynectors’ to help with health insurance

Greg Stotelmyer Kentucky News Connection

October 4, 2013

HOPKINSVILLE - The build-up is over. Enrollment begins Tuesday, Oct. 1, for insurance coverage under the new health-care law (Affordable Care Act). The state has contracted with organizations and agencies to provide so called “kynectors” to help people understand what their options are.

Community Action Kentucky is aiding consumers in four regions of the state. Roy Brunner, deputy director, Pennyrile Allied Community Services in west Kentucky, said the trained helpers have dual roles. In addition to outreach and education, they will also be able to help consumers enroll for insurance.

“We are definitely mobile. If we have to go to an individual, we can do that. We can take appointments. Basically, we are armed with a laptop, cell phone and an automobile, and we’ll go all over our nine-county area,” Brunner said.

As well as helping individuals and small businesses, the trained helpers will be stationed at places such as libraries, health departments and community action offices.

It’s a “natural fit” for Community Action Kentucky, according to Florence Tandy. Tandy, who heads the agency’s offices in northern Kentucky, said access to good health care has been an ongoing struggle.

“We see it every day with the people that we work with. Access to health care is an important, basic human need,” Tandy said.

Tandy has 15 “kynectors” ready to assist people in her six-county region.

Down in west Kentucky, Brunner said he has seen a range of opinions on the new health-care law, from anger to excitement, and there are plenty of misconceptions.

“We have a lot of people who are confused about what’s going to be available, what they’re going to be required to do come Jan. 1,” he said.

That’s when the insurance takes effect. In addition to helping people pick a plan and enroll, the “kynectors” will be able to tell them if they qualify for a tax credit or Medicaid.

Kentucky’s health benefits marketplace website is kynect.ky.gov.