Commissioner’s Corner: Department plans statewide meetings on health insurance changes – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Commissioner’s Corner: Department plans statewide meetings on health insurance changes

By Sandy Praeger, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance

The talk about health insurance changes coming in 2014 has increased this summer, and the Kansas insurance Department wants to help answer your questions.

We are planning a series of informational meetings throughout the state in September and October that are designed to present facts about health insurance changes coming to Kansans.  Along with the information we have, we will give you an opportunity to ask questions about how those changes might affect your situation and your family.

The September schedule includes two meetings in Topeka, one at 2 p.m. and another at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, at the Shawnee County Public Library, Marvin Auditorium, 1515 SW 10th Ave., Topeka.

Other September meetings are: Sept. 24, Dodge City; Sept. 25, Salina; and Sept. 26, Pittsburg.

Meetings scheduled for October include one in Emporia at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Bowyer Building, Lyon County Fairgrounds, 2700 W. Highway 50.

Other meetings in eastern Kansas include one on Oct. 2 at Memorial Hall, 410 N. Penn, Independence; and Oct. 22 at the Donnelly College Events Center, 608 N. 18th St., Kansas City, Kan.

At each event, either Linda Sheppard, our department health policy director and special counsel, or I will walk attendees through an overview of the new health law and explain who is affected by the coming health insurance changes (only some Kansans are). We will also explain and demonstrate how the new online insurance marketplace will operate.

The biggest part of the meeting will be answering questions about the changes.  Our department has been analyzing the changes since some of them went into effect in 2010, and we will do our best to present objective answers to specific questions.

We won’t be debating the merits of the changes; that’s not our job as employees of the insurance department. We just want to make sure that people have all the necessary information to work through the changes put in place by law.

Handouts with additional information will be available at the meetings.  If you have questions after reading them, our consumer assistance representatives can take your toll-free calls (in Kansas) at 800-432-2484. Also, by the time the meetings roll around, at least two new Kansas Navigator programs established by the federal government will provide more information. Watch for their announcements in your local news outlets later this month.

The insurance department is planning to post some short YouTube videos that address certain health insurance changes. And there will be a new website,, which will provide much information about how the online marketplaces will operate.

Kansans who want to learn more about the changes are invited to join us at one or more of the meetings. We want to provide as much information to as many people as we can before and as the changes take place.

No signup or registration is required for the meetings. For more information, contact the Kansas Insurance Department at 785-296-7807.

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