State insurance officials explain Obamacare to public

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WICHITA, Kansas – As House Republicans demand to defund Obamacare in order to avoid a government shutdown, state insurance officials  came to Wichita Thursday to explain the online marketplace that will go live next month to offer insurance to thousands of uninsured Kansans.

But no matter what side of the political spectrum, there are plenty of people who are still confused about how the Affordable Care Act will affect them.

“I think some aspects of it are helpful, however I think it leaves a lot of questions unanswered,” Debbie Gildhouse, who is working for a business deciding whether to continue offering insurance to employees, said.

Others who were in attendance are hoping the Affordable Care Act gives them a choice of provider while keeping costs down.

“It would be nice if you could pick your own doctor out, make your appointment and be able to go, with an affordable plan that’s set up so you can be healthy,” Elizabeth Kammerer said.

The marketplace, which opens on October 1, will give about 365,000 uninsured Kansans the option to buy health insurance. Those who do not and have not been exempt face penalties that increase yearly.

Coventry and Blue Cross Blue Shield are the two providers offering plans on the online marketplace in Kansas, offering about a dozen insurance plans at varying levels, such as plans with low premiums and high out-of-pocket costs and vice-versa.

“When you go online, you’ll see what the premium is, you’ll see what the tax credit is, and you’ll see what you have to pay,” Sandy Praeger, the state’s insurance commissioner, said.

But with those currently insured concerned about rising costs, there is still plenty of worry. State officials hope they have resolved some of the confusion.

“When people start seeing the benefit that they may be entitled to, I think some of that confusion hopefully will melt away and people will understand that it really is designed to get everyone insured so that everyone has access to healthcare services,” Praeger said.

For more information, visit, which has several tools people can use to explain how the Affordable Care Act can affect them. Meetings like the ones held today will also be held throughout the state in the coming weeks.

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