Tue October 1, 2013
Kansas Health Care Exchange Now Online, But Not Without Problems
Kansas' health care exchange is online now at Healthcare.gov.
However, some proponents of the federal health care law that created the marketplace think consumers should wait until any glitches have been fixed before they buy coverage.
Sheldon Weisgrau of the Health Reform Resource Project says people can start buying coverage through the exchange today, but they don't have to. They have until December 15 if they want their coverage to start in January.
As of Monday, some Kansas health care organizations that were awarded federal grants to help guide consumers through the process still hadn't hired all of the "navigators" needed...or finished training for many of those who were hired.
Also, the Kansas Insurance Department still hadn't received Spanish-language pamphlets it ordered in June.
Manuela Oroteza is a cook at Wichita State University. Her family lives off her $10/hour salary and she's eager to see if she can afford health care through the new exchange.
Oroteza can not afford the coverage the school offers its employees, so the family currently relies on a free clinic for their health care.
Oroteza resents Brownback for refusing federal funding to expand Medicaid in Kansas and is confused about the new health care law. She wishes someone could explain it to her in Spanish.
Governor Sam Brownback and Republican legislative leaders have resisted implementing the Affordable Care Act since it became law.
They have opted to allow the federal government to set up the Kansas exchange, and refused a $31.5 million dollar federal grant to set up the infrastructure for the Kansas exchange.