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Beshear: KY's Health Exchange "Indisputable Success"

PHOTO: Kentucky's health exchange, known as "kynect," has enrolled more than 413,000 people for health insurance coverage.
PHOTO: Kentucky's health exchange, known as "kynect," has enrolled more than 413,000 people for health insurance coverage.
April 23, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. - About one in 10 Kentucky residents has signed up for insurance coverage under the state's health-benefit exchange known as "kynect."

The raw numbers: 413,410 Kentuckians, including Beth Moore from Louisville. She signed up when she became self-employed in January, she said, and in March, while on a trip out of state, she had an emergency appendectomy.

"As of right now, I've received documentation for over $30,000 of medical claims," she said, "which, if I had not had insurance, would have been catastrophic for me."

Moore said she has paid $150 out of pocket on the claims. According to the governor's office, 20 percent of those who enrolled, including Moore, purchased a private insurance plan. The other 80 percent qualified for coverage under Medicaid expansion.

While the exchange gives people access to coverage, said Audrey Haynes, Kentucky's health and family services secretary, there has to be a continued focus on long-term health.

"Turning around what has long been a health needle that never seems to move for Kentucky in the right direction is certainly our next big step," she said.

While opponents of the Affordable Care Act claim it will bust the federal budget, Kentucky's governor is calling it an indisputable success. In Steve Beshear's words, "This is working - that's the bottom line, it's working."

"These critics continue, apparently, to sit in their own echo chambers and talk to each other," Beshear said, "because, when you get out and talk to these 413,000 people, they are very thankful."

Beshear said about 75 percent of those who have enrolled did not have insurance prior to "kynect."

The state used hundreds of so-called "kynectors" - individuals trained to help people sign up. Community Action Kentucky, which serves low-income families across the state, has 120 kynectors, including Kami White, who said she witnessed firsthand how much it's helping.

"It meant that they were going to be able to go to the doctor," she said, "and it meant that they were going to be able to get their prescriptions."

The next enrollment period opens Nov. 15 for coverage beginning in January.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY