Kentucky health insurance exchange
Kentucky’s uninsured rate dropped more than 8 percent during 2014 open enrollment
By Carla Anderson
July 23, 2014
The open enrollment period to purchase health insurance for 2014 through Kynect, Kentucky’s state-run health insurance marketplace, has ended. People who get married or divorced, change jobs, have a child or experience another qualifying event may be eligible for a special enrollment period. Enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues throughout the year. Individuals who don’t have health insurance that provides “minimum essential coverage” may have to pay a penalty: $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.
Open enrollment for 2015 coverage through the marketplace begins Nov. 15.
Kynect is touted as one the nation’s most successful health insurance marketplaces. During the open enrollment period for 2014 coverage, 82,747 people selected a private health plan and 357,990 qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Kynect officials said about 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.
Among Kentucky residents selecting a QHP, 13 percent selected a bronze plan (20 percent nationally), 43 percent selected a silver plan (65 percent nationally), 17 percent selected a gold plan (9 percent nationally), 26 percent selected a platinum plan (5 percent nationally) and 1 percent selected a catastrophic plan (2 percent nationally). Among Kentucky residents selecting a QHP, 72 percent qualified for financial assistance, compared to 85 percent nationally.
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 drove Kentucky’s enrollment totals.
Five insurers participated in Kentucky’s marketplace during 2014 open enrollment: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Bluegrass Family Health, Humana, Kentucky Health Cooperative, and UnitedHealthcare.
According to Wallet Hub and based on data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the uninsured rate in Kentucky decreased from 17.3 percent prior to 2014 open enrollment to 8.95 percent after open enrollment. That’s a drop of 8.35 percent. Beshear set a target of reducing the uninsured rate to less than 5 percent by 2019 as part of his strategy to improve health status for Kentucky residents.
Kentucky health insurance exchange links
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.
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