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Community members encouraged to vote for favorite cause in spirit of giving -12/19/2014, 4:17 PM

God can be our light during bleak times today, tomorrow, future -12/19/2014, 9:38 AM

Sneak exercise into your holiday activities -12/18/2014, 9:13 AM

Natoma Auxiliary spreads cheer -12/18/2014, 9:13 AM

The joys of the holiday season are all around us -12/17/2014, 10:30 AM

First Care Clinic gets grant -12/16/2014, 4:16 PM

Westar Energy expands commitment to Kansas wind energy -12/16/2014, 12:48 PM

Brownback appoints new Cheyenne County commissioner -12/16/2014, 12:48 PM

'The Battle of the Five Armies' lacking -12/16/2014, 8:23 AM

Baby keeps family active -12/16/2014, 8:23 AM

Hays native serves as intern for Moran -12/15/2014, 11:55 AM

Several ways exist to integrate stepfamilies, holidays -12/15/2014, 9:20 AM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 14, 2014) -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Soil test information can lead to bountiful financial returns -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Clubs and meetings (Dec. 14, 2014) -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Community Bulletin Board (Dec. 13, 2014) -12/13/2014, 3:11 PM

The heart of Christmas -12/12/2014, 8:49 AM

DHDC announces new board members -12/11/2014, 4:17 PM

Area student selected to livestock judging team -12/11/2014, 8:50 AM

Bake ahead, freeze for holidays -12/11/2014, 8:50 AM

Extension estate planning workshops announced -12/10/2014, 3:31 PM

Remembering the Japanese invasion, World War II -12/10/2014, 10:12 AM

DHDC kicks off annual partnership program -12/9/2014, 12:05 PM

A few holiday movies to enjoy -- again -12/9/2014, 9:31 AM

New addition to family brings smiles to faces -12/9/2014, 8:18 AM

Steps can be taken to help stepfamilies adjust to holidays -12/8/2014, 9:41 AM

Genetically modified organism fact or fiction -12/7/2014, 4:12 PM

Clubs and meetings (Dec. 7, 2014) -12/7/2014, 4:11 PM

Yes, there is a Santa Claus -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

Getting out of balance disrupts life satisfaction -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

A month of busyness at Hays Public Library -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

Cookie exchange raises money for children -12/4/2014, 3:27 PM

Master honored with inaugural award -12/4/2014, 8:55 AM

DCF unveils new Hays service center -12/3/2014, 3:29 PM

What's in a color -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

Several honored for milestone celebrations -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

A chance encounter overseas -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

FHSU bands to perform Friday -12/2/2014, 10:19 AM

Dealing with stepfamilies during the holidays -12/1/2014, 8:48 AM

Study finds GMO's safe for livestock -11/30/2014, 3:36 PM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 30, 2014) -11/30/2014, 3:36 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 30, 2014) -11/30/2014, 3:35 PM

Real Black Friday began thousands of years ago -11/28/2014, 9:22 AM

A lifetime of achievements in 4-H -11/26/2014, 7:45 AM

Fort Hays honors courses will serve as pilot courses -11/26/2014, 7:35 AM

Yoders welcome a new baby boy recently -11/25/2014, 9:34 AM

Stepfamily dynamics can be tricky to manage -11/24/2014, 9:55 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Local Knights of Columbus announce essay winners -11/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Grocery collection for ECMA on Saturday -11/21/2014, 8:56 AM

Feast on these holiday savings this season -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

Birthdays (Nov. 20, 2014) -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

HPMH partners with counties for outreach -11/19/2014, 3:49 PM

Kansas Next Step announces honors -11/19/2014, 2:09 PM

Senior volunteers honored for years of service to communities -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

Living life by the five senses -- plus another -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

'Big Hero 6' is slightly under-inflated -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

KHP gives tips for safe Thanksgiving travel -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Latest donations move FHSU closer to goal -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Kansas is reading to preschoolers -11/17/2014, 12:56 PM

Great American Smokeout is Thursday -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Keep little helpers safe in kitchen -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Moran receives Legislator of Year Award from home care association -11/17/2014, 11:26 AM

Hammond named to fraternity commission -11/17/2014, 9:45 AM

No stepfamily is immune to holiday stress -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Community Bulletin Board (Nov. 17, 2014) -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Get the most from grazing crop residue -11/16/2014, 5:35 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 16, 2014) -11/16/2014, 12:52 PM

Choice overload -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

God and Ebola -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

Birthday -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

10 tips for stress-free Thanksgiving cooking, planning -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

Do you need that annual mammogram? -11/12/2014, 11:52 AM

'Warcraft' preview stirs excitement; 'Interstellar' is solid -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Favorite coffee cake and being introduced to Sassy Sundae -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Many types of stressors can affect holidays -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Time for film's encore, German cooking at library -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 9, 2014) -11/9/2014, 4:30 PM

Westview hosting youth lock-in -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

A prayer that stands the test of time still holds true today -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

Extension program gives tech tips for parents -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Birthdays -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Foreigners must report land holdings -11/5/2014, 3:39 PM

Jana's Campaign fundraiser nets $33,000 -11/5/2014, 10:29 AM

Getting out and voting, because I can -11/5/2014, 8:40 AM

Waterline works will hamper traffic -11/4/2014, 4:08 PM

Email issues resolved -11/4/2014, 11:43 AM

Gloria's birthday present, followed by barbecue pizza -11/4/2014, 8:41 AM

Many live in stepfamilies in United States today -11/3/2014, 8:58 AM

Taking care in providing proper animal health -11/2/2014, 8:31 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 2, 2014) -11/2/2014, 11:10 AM

After 5 gathering Nov. 10 in Hays -10/31/2014, 7:50 AM

Time for trick or treating -10/31/2014, 7:49 AM

Gella's to show Turning Points film encore -10/30/2014, 1:53 PM

State's Cold Weather Rule takes effect Saturday -10/29/2014, 9:33 AM

'John Wick' is efficient excitement for flick -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Serving up homemade cinnamon rolls -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Hansen Foundation awards grant to HaysMed Foundation -10/27/2014, 10:20 AM

HaysMed's cardiovascular-stroke team earns award -10/27/2014, 10:11 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
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Seminar will shed light on health care reform

Published on -10/24/2013, 10:09 AM

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The Affordable Care Act (also known as health care reform or Obamacare) was passed into law in March 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in July 2012. Some provisions, such as children staying on their parents' insurance up to age 26 and prescription drug discounts to help close the "doughnut hole" for Medicare seniors, started immediately.

The biggest changes under the Affordable Care Act are set to begin Jan. 1. Do you know how the new health care law will affect you?

Plan to attend an informational session at noon Wednesday at the Ellis County Extension office, 601 Main. Enter the rear door from the north parking lot; bring a lunch if desired.

Speakers are three Extension family and consumer sciences agents: Donna Krug, Barton County; Jamie Rathbun, Midway District; and myself. We will attempt to shed some light on the complexities of the Affordable Care Act and provide consumer resources for more information from Kansas State Research and Extension and the Kansas insurance commissioner.

The noon-hour program is free and open to the public. Please pre-register by calling (785) 628-9430 to ensure adequate materials and supplies. A minimum attendance is needed to hold the program.

On Oct. 1, the newest phase of the Affordable Care Act began with the opening of the health insurance marketplace. Now uninsured Kansans will have options for health insurance they've never had before. The marketplace is a new way to find and buy health insurance. Individuals can shop for health insurance that fits their budget. There is financial help for some limited-income individuals and families. There is assistance available to help you choose the best coverage for your needs.

Still, many people are confused about how insurance will change. Those who are already eligible for public programs such as Medicare, Kancare, Tri-Care and the Veterans Administration system will stay in those programs. Most who get health insurance through work will continue to do so. And for those who didn't have health insurance before, or had inadequate or very expensive health insurance, there will be new options to purchase insurance. Health insurance is required; purchasing through the marketplace is not required. However, the marketplace is the only place to get the tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for those with limited incomes.

With the Affordable Care Act, farm families have new options, too. On the whole, farm families have been big purchasers of health insurance. Being insured protects the family farm, but because farming is such a high-risk occupation, premiums and deductibles have been very high.

The Affordable Care Act changes that. The way premiums now will be set cannot factor in costs associated with high-risk occupations nor with pre-existing conditions. The new law makes it more likely that farm families will be able to purchase less-expensive coverage.

Whether you are uninsured, you have been denied coverage in the past, or you just want to explore new options, the new Affordable Care Act Marketplace will give you more choices and control over your health coverage. The 6-month open enrollment period beg ends March 31. If you select a plan by Dec. 15, that plan will begin Jan. 1.

There is more to know so that you can decide what's best for you. Plan to attend Wednesday's informative session at the Ellis County Extension to learn more.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences. lbeech@ksu.edu

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