A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Health insurance cost savings could be a game-changer for state’s female heads of households

By Nadia Ramlagan
Public News Service

Changes outlined in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan are lowering health insurance costs for many Kentuckians enrolled in marketplace plans, and experts say the savings could be game-changing for women head of households and single moms.

Cheryl Caskey, a Franklin County resident who works for a small nonprofit, said she started using healthcare.gov in 2019 when she switched jobs.

Caskey explained after recently resubmitting her application to take advantage of the new subsidies, she went from paying $150 a month to $29 a month for her premium.

“It is really nice because the health insurance before was fairly expensive, and a significant portion of my monthly bills,” Caskey remarked. “And so this does relieve a little bit of pressure each month.”

She added the $120 in savings helps her afford her prescription co-pays with much less stress.

Kentuckians already enrolled in a marketplace plan can go back and update their application to see the new increased subsidies applied to their monthly premiums. The Affordable Care Act special enrollment period has been extended to August 15.

Christina Libby, heath outreach navigator for the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, said women and moms struggling to pay healthcare expenses or are saddled with medical debt can end up losing their housing.

She added some people previously applied for coverage and were discouraged by the cost.

“If you have ever applied for Marketplace coverage, and your initial thought was that it was too expensive, please re-apply because these changes with the American Rescue Plan have made it so much more accessible,” Libby urged.

It’s estimated more than 122,000 Kentuckians may be able to find marketplace health coverage for $10 or less per month after premium tax credits, and thousands could be eligible for zero-cost plans.

Caskey noted for her, the process was simple.

“I definitely encourage people to take advantage, if they still can,” Caskey added. “I really hope that it is something that remains permanent.”

For questions, to submit an application over the phone, contact the marketplace at 800-318-2596. For local help, find the Kynector tool online or call 1-855-459-6328 to reach a Kynector in your county.

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