By Carla Anderson
April 7, 2014
Kentucky has extended its open enrollment period for those who had trouble enrolling before the original March 31 deadline. To qualify for the extension, consumers need to visit the Kynect website and click a button to pledge that they tried to sign up prior to March 31. Consumers must completed their applications by midnight on Friday, April 11, and select a health plan by midnight on Tuesday, April 15. Coverage will begin May 1.
People who get married or divorced, change jobs, have a child or experience another qualifying event may be eligible for a special enrollment period to purchase commercial insurance before the next open enrollment period (which begins Nov. 15, 2014, for coverage in 2015). Enrollment for Medicaid or CHIP continues throughout the year.
Individuals who remain uninsured may face a tax penalty of $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.
Kynect is touted as one the nation’s most successful rollouts of the health insurance marketplaces. Through March 31 about 77,000 people selected a private health plan and nearly more than 294,000 qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). According to preliminary data, Kynect says about 75 percent of those who signed up for coverage did not previously have insurance. Kynect also reported that 50 percent of all enrollees (for private insurance or Medicaid) and 33 percent of those enrolling in private insurance are under age 35.
Gov. Steve Beshear went against public sentiment in deciding the state would run its own marketplace. In an article in The New York Times, Beshear urged state residents to set aside politics and use the marketplace to get insured. “You don’t have to like the president; you don’t have to like me. Because this isn’t about him, and it’s not about me. It’s about you, your family and your children. So do yourself a favor. Find what you can get for yourself.”
Kynect was one of the few marketplaces established through an executive order. Beshear’s order to establish the exchange in July 2012 followed months of seeming inaction on the exchange by the executive and legislative branches in the state. Kynect is part of the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and it is overseen by 19-member board appointed by Beshear.
Kentucky spent about $11 million on outreach and marketing, and it trained 5,000 people to support enrollment — including state employees, insurance agents, volunteers and representative of various community groups and social service organizations. These outreach efforts are driving Kentucky’s enrollment totals.
Five insurers are participating in Kentucky’s marketplace: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Bluegrass Family Health, Humana, Kentucky Health Cooperative, and UnitedHealthcare.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 15 percent of Kentucky residents were uninsured in 2012. Beshear set a target of reducing the uninsured rate to less than 5 percent by 2019 as part of his recently announced strategy to improve health status for Kentucky residents.
Kynect - Kentucky’s Healthcare Connection
State Exchange Profile: Kentucky
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Kentucky’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Consumer Protection and Education Division, Kentucky Office of Insurance
Serves residents in fully insured plan.
(502) 564-6034 / Toll Free: 1-800-595-6053
Kentucky Health Insurance Advocate, Kentucky Department of Insurance
Assists people insured by private health plans, Medicaid, or other plans in resolving problems pertaining to their health coverage; assists uninsured residents with access to care.
(877) 587-7222 /DOI.CAPOmbudsman@ky.gov
Let your Kentucky governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear