Kansas health insurance exchange
Few insurers, but low premiums for Kansas marketplace
By Carla Anderson
November 14, 2013
About 370 Kansans selected a health plan through the federal marketplace between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2 according to enrollment data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Consumers from Kansas submitted 6,100 applications seeking coverage for about 12,000 people. Kansas is among the 26 states using HealthCare.gov, the federal website that has had a troubled launch.
The decision against a Kansas-run exchange came despite the efforts of Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger and some initial support from Gov. Sam Brownback. Brownback, while critical of the Affordable Care Act, initially supported Praeger’s exchange planning efforts. However, he grew less and less supportive over time. In August 2011, Brownback returned a federal grant intended to help the state develop technical infrastructure for running the exchange.
The return of the grant effectively quashed a state-run exchange, so Praeger began recommending state-federal partnership as a way for the state to retain some control. Brownback ignored a September 2012 deadline to select a benchmark plan for essential health benefits. In November 2012, he announced that the state would default to a federally operated exchange, issuing a statement that said in part, “My administration will not partner with the federal government to create a state-federal partnership insurance exchange because we will not benefit from it and implementing it could costs Kansas taxpayers millions of dollars.”
Four insurance companies are offering policies through the marketplace in Kansas: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Coventry Health and Life Insurance, and Coventry Health Care of Kansas. You can see which companies are available in a particular county at insureKS.org. The four companies are offering a total of 72 plan options.
According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the average cost for a bronze plan —the lowest-cost option — in Kansas is $197 a month. The national average for a bronze policy is $249 a month.
According to HHS, nearly 327,000 Kansans (16 percent of the state population) are uninsured and eligible to use the marketplace. Open enrollment for coverage in 2014 runs from Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Consumers must purchase polices by Dec. 23 and pay their first premium for coverage to begin Jan. 1, 2014.
Kansas health insurance exchange links
State Exchange Profile: Kansas
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Kansas’ progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Kansas Insurance Department, Consumer Assistance Division
Assists consumers who have purchased insurance on the individual market or who have insurance through an employer who only does business in Kansas.
(800) 432-2484 / Local: (785) 296-7829