State’s transition to Healthcare.gov termed a success as over 81,000 Kentuckians enrolled for coverage

Open Enrollment for 2017 is now complete and Kentucky officials are reporting a successful transition from kynect to the federal health insurance marketplace. Enrollment figures for 2017 are on par with coverage obtained via the previous state exchange known as kynect. Once the transition is fully complete, Kentucky anticipates saving in excess of $10 million annually by not having to operate its...

Deadline for applying for insurance through federal health exchange coming up Jan. 31

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The deadline for Kentuckians who did not have health insurance through Kynect last year to sign up for health insurance through the federal exchange, now being used for enrollment instead of Kynect, is Jan. 31. If you do not have health insurance, you face a steep penalty when it comes time to file your tax returns. Kentuckians who had a health insurance plan...

Over 1 million signed up for insurance on federal exchange during early days of enrollment

More than a million people have enrolled in plans on HealthCare.gov since Nov. 1 and more than 300,000 did after Donald Trump was elected president, the federal officials reported. Of the 1,008,200 sign-ups, 246,000 are new to the federal marketplace. The overall total is 53,000 more than the first 12 days of open enrollment in 2015. While running for president Trump said he would repeal the Affordable...

Kentuckians likely to need help signing up for health insurance on exchange, especially in east and south

Kentuckians looking for a 2017 health plan on the federal exchange will likely need some help signing up, if a study of last year’s need for support on the former Kynect exchange is any indication. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky study found that more than half of Kentuckians (52.3 percent) who got their health insurance through Kynect last year worked with a kynector, a person who helped...

Individuals who qualify for health plan tax subsidies will sign up on federal exchange starting Nov. 1

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentuckians who qualify for health plans subsidized by tax credits, called Qualified Health Plans, will sign up on HealthCare.gov instead of Kynect during the open enrollment that begins Nov. 1. Some Kynect advocates have voiced concern that the changeover will be troublesome, but Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokesman Doug Hogan said in an e-mail,...

Feds grant approval for disconnect of Kynect, but urge more be done to ensure smooth transition

It’s official. Kentuckians will sign up for health insurance on HealthCare.gov instead of Kynect during this year’s open enrollment, which begins Nov. 1. But there are questions about how smooth the transition will be. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Director Andrew Slavitt said in a letter dated Oct. 4 to Gov. Matt Bevin that Kentucky had met all of the necessary requirements...

New census data shows Kentucky as top state in health coverage thanks to Medicaid expansion

New Census data released Tuesday shows Kentucky’s historic progress in reducing the share of Kentuckians without health insurance coverage has continued to grow. The new American Community Survey (ACS) data shows Kentucky’s rate dropped 8.3 percentage points between 2013 and 2015, thanks to our state’s decision to expand Medicaid and set up the successful Kynect marketplace. Kentucky is one...

Commentary: Kentucky should keep the Medicaid expansion as it is; say no to KyHealth alternative

By Col Owens Special to KyForward I am a recently retired senior attorney from the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio. During my career I concentrated on health care issues of our low-income clients, primarily Medicaid issues. Many of our clients relied on Medicaid. Others went without access to care — until the Medicaid expansion. Ohio adopted the Medicaid expansion in 2013 with the strong...

Report shows Kentuckians increasingly covered by health plans with high deductibles

Six times as many Kentucky workers were enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans in 2014 as in 2006, reflecting a national trend, says a report for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. As a result, the average amount they had to pay before their insurance kicked in more than doubled, from $1,178 in 2006 to $2,738 in 2014. Most of the 93,666 people enrolled in the Kynect health-insurance...

Kynectors, health advocates ask state to maintain current staffing, resource levels in new system

As the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin works toward dismantling Kynect, the state’s health insurance exchange, health advocates say they worry that the transition is going too quickly to be smooth, risking a loss of coverage for some Kentuckians. Kentucky Voices for Health, a coalition of groups supporting health-care reform, said that the administration needs to “keep, hire and train...

Kentucky’s uninsured rate drops to 7.5 percent, lower than national average, eight surrounding states

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The share of Kentuckians without health insurance continues to drop, and new Medicaid enrollees continue to take advantage of free preventive health services, according to an ongoing study of federal health reform’s impact in the state. The Foundation for a Health Kentucky is paying the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota...

Problems with Benefind system won’t interrupt receipt of government benefits, Bevin, Deloitte say

Gov. Matt Bevin, along with officials from Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and technology provider Deloitte, held a news conference Thursday to assure the public that their government benefits administered through the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) will continue through April. The announcement addressed misinformation and confusion generated by Kentucky’s benefind system....

Democrats respond to GOP challenge, embrace Kynect and Beshear’s Medicaid expansion

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News With a verve for Obamacare most had not publicly demonstrated, state House Democrats passed bills Tuesday to preserve the Kynect health insurance exchange and the state’s expansion of the federal-state Medicaid program. The almost entirely party-line votes were a response to Republican Senate President Robert Stivers, who had challenged the House to act...

Kynect, Medicaid expansion protection legislation appears headed to House for surprise vote

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Bills to continue the Kynect health-insurance exchange and the state’s current expansion of the federal-state Medicaid program passed out of the House Health and Welfare Committee last week, starting a series of legislative votes on health reform that once seemed unlikely. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he expects the bills to pass the Democratic-majority...

Bevin administration to keep state health-insurance exchange, use federal for enrollment; cost debated

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News Gov. Matt Bevin appears to have found a way to abolish the Kynect health-insurance exchange without chasing away insurance companies or causing them to limit their offerings – and at just over 1 percent of the cost estimate used by his Democratic predecessor. But it won’t be eliminating the insurance fee that funds Kynect. Bevin and Health...

Bevin, Glisson estimate cost of state’s transition to federal health care exchange about $240,000

Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Vickie Yates Glisson presented new details on the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s transition to the federal health exchange Wednesday, asserting that the state’s net cost to transition to the federal exchange will be approximately $240,000. “It is time to set the record straight on kynect,” said Gov. Matt Bevin in a news release issued. “My administration...

Legislative Briefs: ‘Ultrasound bill’ passes Senate; emergency personnel fitness measure approved

The state Senate passed a bill seeking to change the informed consent process required prior to an abortion in Kentucky by a 32-4 vote Monday. Senate Bill 152 would require an ultrasound be performed prior to an abortion and that the woman seeking that abortion be allowed to see the ultrasound image, said state Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, who sponsored the bill. Calling it the “ultrasound...

Kynectors ask Bevin to reconsider shutdown, say they are much more than just a website

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kynectors, who help Kentuckians sign up for health coverage through Kynect, the health-insurance exchange that Gov. Matt Bevin plans to dismantle, gathered in Frankfort this week to argue that Kynect is much more than a website and to ask the governor to reconsider. Five Kynectors shared stories of how they not only help Kentuckians sign up for health insurance...

Group says keeping Medicaid expansion, Kynect crucial to meet needs of small farmers

Three Kentucky farmers praised Medicaid expansion and Kynect, the state health-insurance exchange, at a news conference Tuesday, saying the programs have helped them to follow their dreams to become farmers, to not have to work two jobs just to have health insurance, and allowed both them and their spouses to work full-time on the farm. One of the farmers, Ben Abell, called for lawmakers and the agriculture...

Beshear forms tax-exempt organization to oppose Bevin’s efforts to roll back health care expansion

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News Steve Beshear, the Democrat who was the only Southern governor to expand Medicaid and create a state-based insurance exchange under federal health reform, announced Thursday that he has taken the unprecedented step of starting a lobbying campaign to fight new Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s plans to scale back the expansion and close the Kynect marketplace. “For...