health insurance

The Kansas Insurance Department is collaborating with state universities and colleges to develop the next generation of insurance industry workers.

The Insurance Department wants to get more people certified and ready to work in the industry, so it created a certificate program for business and finance majors.

Students need to complete 12-credit hours of insurance-related coursework to earn the certificate.

Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer says they launched the education initiative because Kansas faces a shortage of insurance industry employees.

Health insurance costs for state employees in Kansas will be rising again next year.

The increases vary depending on the plan, but rate hikes range from around 9 to 30 percent, with additional increases for dental and vision coverage. Rebecca Proctor, with the Kansas Organization of State Employees, says there are some state workers making around $12 to $14 an hour, so the rising costs really hit their bottom line.

Two Kansas organizations are hiring staff to increase the number of consumers they can help in the search for health insurance that meets their needs. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson has details.

The federal health insurance marketplace opens for 2016 coverage Nov. 1.

The Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved and Ascension Health have both received federal grants to help consumers sort through the many options they’ll find. Together, their insurance navigators helped almost 20,000 Kansans find coverage for this year.

Certain health insurance options for state workers in Kansas will more than double in cost next year.

Rebecca Proctor with the Kansas Organization of State Employees says employees on the lower end of the pay scale often choose a plan with cheaper premiums and a higher deductible. Those plans will see the largest increase, with one option jumping from $50 per paycheck to more than $130.

Some state lawmakers are considering allowing some form of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act amid the looming closure of a hospital in southeast Kansas.

Mercy Hospital in Independence announced last week that it was closing its doors on Oct. 10, partly due to declining reimbursement rates from Medicare.

Senate Vice President Jeff King said Tuesday that Kansas should consider a state-centric approach to addressing poor residents' health care needs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says about 1,800 Kansans who chose health insurance through could lose their coverage over questions about their citizenship or immigration status.

The department says the 1,800 Kansans had inconsistencies in their citizenship or immigration information when they signed up on the federal health insurance marketplace.

They must send in proof of their legal status by Sept. 5 or they will lose their coverage by the end of September.

The largest health insurance company in Kansas will offer another year of coverage under plans that it had expected to cancel because of the federal health care overhaul.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger and the state's largest health insurer say they're not sure yet about the implications of President Barack Obama's decision to modify part of the federal health care overhaul.

According to a new report, more than 145,000 women in Kansas were uninsured last year. That’s a little less than 17 percent. But a majority of Hispanic women in Kansas—53.4 percent—have no health insurance. That’s one of the highest rates in the country.

The federal online marketplace for health insurance opens October 1.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, most Americans are required to have insurance beginning in 2014. This part of the law, referred to as the “individual mandate,” is designed to increase the number of consumers in the total insurance pool, with the intention of lowering premiums across the board.