By Carla Anderson
March 3, 2014
Kynect is touted as one the nation’s most successful rollouts of the health insurance marketplaces. Through Feb. 28, more than 54,000 people selected a private health plan and more than 210,500 qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). According to the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) report released Feb. 10, Kentucky residents are showing a decided greater preference for higher premium/lower deductible plans than the national average. In Kentucky, 16 percent selected gold plans and 25 percent selected platinum plans; nationally, the figures were 12 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
Enrollment for private insurance in 2014 continues through March 31. Policies purchased by the 15th of the month will be effective the first day of the following month. Individuals who remain uninsured after March may face a tax penalty of $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater. Enrollment for Medicaid or CHIP continues throughout the year.
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, plus the large number of people qualifying for Medicaid, 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