Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kentucky Moving On Up

After 150 years in the have-not club of states with high poverty and low services, Kentucky is joining the club of have states: the ones with healthy people, good jobs and a bright future.

Because 20 percent of uninsured Kentuckians now have health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Mary Meehan at the Herald:

Enrollment for health insurance through Kynect has exceeded 116,000, and state officials are urging people to be patient if they've signed up for private insurance but haven't received their insurance cards.

Dec. 23 was the deadline to be part of the first wave of health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which takes effect Wednesday. In Kentucky, about 6,000 applications were processed in the 24 hours before the deadline, Gov. Steve Beshear said in a news release Monday. The holiday season has not slowed enrollment. About 5,630 people in Kentucky have signed up since last week.

With so many people signing up in a short time, according to Beshear's release, some might not receive their insurance cards by Jan. 1. "Don't worry," the release said. "Insurers are processing a high volume of new enrollments."

Kerri Richardson, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the state hadn't kept track of the percentage of people who had received their cards from private companies offering coverage through Kynect.
People who've signed up via Kynect should be in the private insurance companies' systems by Jan. 1, said Gwenda Bond, a spokesman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

But coverage does not take effect unless a premium payment has been made, so Kynect administrators are encouraging those enrolled in private insurance plans to pay their first premiums by Jan. 10.
There are no premiums for Medicaid, which is designed to help the poor. Bond said people who have signed up for Medicaid through Kynect should be covered beginning Wednesday.

Kentucky had about 640,000 uninsured people when enrollment began Oct. 1. So far, 84,480 people have enrolled in government-funded Medicaid and 31,672 have enrolled in private insurance, a total of 116,152.
Enrollment continues through March 31 for coverage in 2014. In Kentucky, those who apply during the next couple weeks can have coverage activated as soon as Feb. 1.

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