A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Health coverage open enrollment continues through Dec. 15; outreach, enrollment assistance is available

Open Enrollment for 2021 Marketplace health insurance plans at HealthCare.gov is continuing. The Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange (KHBE), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is working to ensure Kentuckians are prepared, informed and have the resources they need to choose a 2021 health plan. This year’s open enrollment continues through Dec. 15, 2020 for coverage that starts...

Passport Health Plan, which lost Medicaid contract, selling key assets to new manager Molina Health

By Lisa Gillespie Kentucky Health News Molina Health, in line to be one of Kentucky’s newest Medicaid managers, will be the successor to Kentucky’s oldest one, Passport Health Plan. Louisville-based Passport recently lost out on bidding to stay in the state’s Medicaid business, but its name, brand and networks of doctors won’t disappear after all. Last year Passport lost out in Medicaid contract...

In fight to keep Medicaid contract, Anthem alleges Molina Health had unfair edge in Beshear transition

By Lisa Gillespie Kentucky Health News Insurance company Molina Health had an unfair advantage in winning a state Medicaid contract, claims rival insurer Anthem, which was a loser in the bidding. Anthem claims California-based Molina hired a former employee of Gov. Andy Beshear who was privy to key documents that other bidders couldn’t see. Anthem says that’s just one reason the state should withdraw...

Open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance begins this Friday, runs through Dec. 15

Open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance in Kentucky next year will begin this Friday (Nov. 1) and run through Dec. 15. Plans will cost more or less than this year, depending on the insurer and the type of plan. And many consumers will have more choices. (Click for larger image) Policies offered on the federal insurance exchange by Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky will be an average...

Both of state’s Affordable Care Act providers seek rate hikes; Anthem to return to some counties

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The two health insurers offering government-subsidized health plans in Kentucky’s individual market for 2019 are both requesting an overall rate hike, the most popular one seeking increases averaging 3.5 percent and the other asking for 19.4 percent. Insurers offering plans for small groups under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are asking...

Critics say new insurance policy denying ‘non-essential’ ER visits expects patients to self-diagnose

Anthem, one of the country’s largest insurance companies, is increasingly denying coverage for emergency room visits it deems inappropriate–i.e., not true emergencies. The policy, which has been implemented in Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Missouri, exempts patients younger than 15, weekend visits, and patients who live 15 miles or father from an urgent care center. Other patients can...

Patrick Padgett: Patients shouldn’t have to pay for Anthem’s poor business decisions

Even though physicians, hospitals, nurses and other medical providers give care to people every day, they have very little control over how that care is delivered.  That control, unfortunately, rests with health insurers.  Their policies dictate not only what is covered, but how care is delivered, and it says a great deal about what insurers really value. Policymakers are sometimes forced to step...

Kentuckians have only one choice on exchange plans as Anthem leaves 61 counties

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will no longer offer Obamacare exchange plans statewide, leaving all Kentucky counties with only one choice in 2018. Anthem offered plans in all 120 Kentucky counties last year, and had earlier planned to do the same, but scaled back to 59 counties in 2018 citing a “shrinking and deteriorating individual market, as well...

Preliminary health insurance rates submitted for state market show significant increases for individuals

Insurance carriers have submitted proposed rates to the Department of Insurance (DOI) for 2018 in Kentucky’s individual and small group markets. In a continuing trend tied to market forces, an aging population, and systemic instability and uncertainty injected by the failure of Obamacare, the proposed rates reflect substantial year-over-year increases ranging from 6.5 percent to 47.7 percent, depending...

Kentuckians signing up for health care finding higher deductibles, fewer options; deadline extended

Kentuckians who are signing up for health insurance through the federal exchange are not only facing higher prices and fewer plan options, they are also finding fewer doctors and hospital choices on their plans, Boris Ladwig reports for Insider Louisville. “While the rising cost of the plans will have a muted impact on most people — federal subsidies will offset much of the higher premiums...

Aetna Inc. says it will halt selling policies through exchanges, three state metro areas affected

Aetna Inc. will stop selling federally subsidized health-insurance policies in Kentucky and 10 other states, remaining only in Virginia, Delaware, Iowa and Nebraska, the company announced this week. Aetna is “joining other major insurers that have pulled out of the government-run markets in the face of mounting losses,” notes Zachary Tracer of Bloomberg News. “More than 40 payers...

State approves nearly all health insurers’ rate hike requests for plans on exchange

Health insurers get almost all of the rate hikes they requested for plans on exchange; some get more than requested. The state Department of Insurance has largely approved the rate increases that health-insurance companies requested for individual and small-group plans that will be sold through the federal health-insurance exchange for 2017. The major exceptions were a 5.6 percent hike for individual...

Justice Department files lawsuits to block sale of Humana, Cigna, citing reduced competition

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed lawsuits to block the sale of Louisville-based Humana Inc. to Aetna Inc. and of Cigna Inc. to Anthem Inc., on grounds that consolidation of the health-insurance market will reduce competition and hurt consumers. Observers expect a protracted court battle, involving negotiations with the department’s anti-trust division, reports Grace Schnieder of The...

Kentucky Department of Insurance gives approval for Anthem’s purchase of Cigna Dental Health

The Kentucky Department of Insurance has approved Anthem’s application to purchase Cigna Dental Health of Kentucky, Inc., doing business as Cigna Dental Health. The decision comes after seven months of review. Insurance Commissioner Brian Maynard (Photo Provided) Department of Insurance analysts have determined that the acquisition would not unfairly reduce competition in the state, would not tend...