Kansas health insurance tips

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Kansas insurance law and regulation

The Kansas Department of Insurance Web site contains help sections for each type of insurance including a section on financially assisted health plans and Medicaid.  The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (785) 296-3071 or by mail at 420 SW 9th Street, Topeka KS 66612. The state children’s health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Kansas Health Wave. Many Kansas residents,  mostly children, were able to secure insurance through KanCare.

News that affects your health insurance and planning

11/24/2018 – Kansas is now one of the few states without a plan to expand Medicaid to the working poor. Freedom Benefits may be able to offer advice on short term temporary solutions.

The history of health care planning in Kansas (Information is outdated and links may be expired)

10/22/2015  Coventry Health and Life Insurance Company and Coventry Health Care of Kansas Inc. will not offer coverage through the state exchange for 2016. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Kansas Solutions, and UnitedHealthCare of the Midwest are the four remaining options.

1/5/2015 A total of 39,000 people used the Kansas health insurance exchange to enroll for 2015 coverage in the first month of open enrollment. This compares to a total of 57,000 who enrolled for 2014. It is too early to say how many will enroll before February 15 when the exchange closes for the year. About 80% of enrollees qualify for a government subsidy to help pay the premium cost.

12/4/2014 Kansas state part time employees are currently eligible to buy into the state health plan at higher rates than full-time workers. Beginning January 1, most will qualify for lower premiums in the state health insurance plan.

11/30/2014 Big changes are ahead for the Kansas Insurance Department as Commissioner Sandy Praeger and four directors including Marlyn Burch, Ted Clark, Steve O’Neil and Neil Woerman plan to leave in January 2015. Ken Selzer is expected to be the new Commissioner. Seltzer is expected to make major shifts in strategy toward implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, yesterdayInsurancenewsnet published a detailed look at the current state of health insurance in Kansas.

11/20/2014 The number of health insurance choices has increased to 82 plans for 2015. Rates have remained fairly stable, but many plans have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses than applicants are accustomed to in the past.

2/11/ 2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Kansas residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated “A” by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

5/1/2013 The Kansas State University Collegian newspaper brought attention to the high percentage of young adults who do not have health insurance despite a recent change in federal law that allows children to remain on a parents’ policy until age 26. The article points out that short term medical insurance can be an affordable temporary solution.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific “essential health benefits” for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)reported that as of June 30, 2011 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and UnitedHealthcare are the state’s largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state’s essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

10/17/2011 State law H 2075 enacted 8/10/2011 requires health insurance policies sold on the insurance exchange to exclude elective abortions in the basic coverage and provides such coverage shall only be through an optional rider.

8/11/2011 Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced that the state is giving a $31.5 million health insurance exchange “early innovator” grant back to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Kansas does not believe that the federal government will follow through on its promise of funding health care reform through the insurance exchange. About half of the 50 states were previously expected to allow the federal government to run their health insurance exchange while the other half of the states will operate their own. Now other states may be reconsidering their reliance on the federal government to fund the launch of their insurance exchange especially in the wake of the federal deficit debt deal this month.

5/24/2011 Kansas is likely to become the 28th state to join in a lawsuit against the federal government in opposition to the federal health reform laws passed in 2010.

2/17/2011 The Kansas Health Policy Authority was granted more than $31 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to extend the new Kansas Medicaid/CHIP eligibility system and integrate this program with the Kansas Health Insurance Exchange. The State of Kansas is in preliminary discussions with the State of Missouri to partner on an exchange.

2/12/2011 With dozens of health plans choices available online offering a wide range of pricing and benefits, how do you find the best combination of price and benefits? Celtic Insurance realizes that the choices can be overwhelming; the company offers more than 40 possible health plan designs in many parts of the United States. A new feature called “Help Me Choose” lets users easily and quickly select the benefits they value most and narrows the list down to a few of the best choices. No personal information is required other than zip code and date of birth.

12/16/2010 Kansas Department of Insurance officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Kansas said that it would: 1) Assess the health benefits Exchange function, its market potential and identified gaps that could impede viability, 2) Initiate an inclusive statewide planning and communications function to foster input and participation, 3) Appoint an advisory panel and work groups to coordinate efforts and identify options, 4) Design an Exchange model with business rules and a supporting actuarial basis for a viable set of plans and benefits, 5) Begin drafting an Exchange charter, governing structure, by-laws, and set of accountabilities, 6) Address all major financial factors and cost drivers impacting the viability of an Exchange, and 7) Discuss infrastructure elements of the Exchange including information technology. More recently, Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger expressed concerns about the exchange proposal, citing that only 121 individuals have enrolled in the state-sponsored high risk health insurance plan out of the estimated half million Kansas residents without health insurance.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Kansas is now available at Freedom Benefits.