Imminent health insurance changes signal need for information, education

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - October 1 marks some big changes in health care for every American.

But you're not alone if you're still confused about the Affordable Health Care Act.

Sandy Praeger, a commissioner with the Kansas Insurance Department said a recent study found 40-some percent of Americans thought the law had been repealed.

So the goal for the department at the KU Edwards Campus Tuesday was to help people understand what is going to happen.

Lauren Gilbert, 26, can't wait for Oct. 1.

"For like a year I've been like, 'Is it time yet? Is it time yet?'" Gilbert said.

"In the last three years, I've been diagnosed with two different diseases. In those three years, I got dropped by my health insurance and can't get an insurance because of the preexisting conditions," Gilbert said.

But once the act goes into affect, she will.  Even so, she is at the meeting to have some questions answered. She was joined by about 300 others.

The department hosted the meeting about the health insurance market place. That is where the uninsured or those who want different coverage can go to buy insurance.

Both Missourians and Kansans will have to use the federal exchange because the states didn't set up their own insurance exchanges.

"I think people are now finally realizing that there's are some changes coming, and so we want to make sure were put there to give them the information," Praeger said.

She said one of the biggest concerns they're hearing is that Medicaid is changing. Praeger said the only thing that is changing is that more benefits have been added.

Praeger said for younger adults, they should know they must have insurance or face a penalty. In the first year, that means $95 or one percent of your income, whichever is higher.

"Young people think nothing is ever going to happen to them, so its important to protect yourself against some sort of catastrophic illness," Praeger said.

Visit www.insureks.org or www.healthcare.gov for more information.

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