Agencies offering healthcare enrollment assistance
Like the rest of the country, Ohio and Kentucky are rolling out their health exchange programs as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Ohio is going with the federal program while Kentucky is running its own marketplace.
Natalie Gordon of Elsmere is excited about the new program. She has ventricular septal defect (VSD), a heart condition that requires regular cardiologist visits. Despite having a job, Gordon says she's either been unable to afford health insurance in the past or has been turned down because of her condition.
"I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders," she says. "Not being able to get insurance and not being able to see a cardiologist has really affected me because, basically, the only treatment for the condition I have, if it gets worse, is surgery. If I don't know that it's getting worse, I fear that it'll get to the point that I'm too late for surgery. So now, just knowing that I can go and see my cardiologist and make sure that everything is okay and if I need surgery, I can afford to get that, is just an amazing feeling."
Florence Tandy is executive director of The Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, which covers Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Pendleton, Grant and Gallatin counties.
"We have a center in each of those counties with certified assisters who will be providing one-on-one and on-the-phone assistance for people interested in researching their options.
Tandy says information sessions are being planned at libraries and other public spots. Local hospitals and health agencies are offering enrollment assistance. Online enrollment is also available.
Kentucky's program is called "kynect." The Community Action Commission estimates more than 40,000 Northern Kentuckians are eligible to purchase insurance through the exchange.