Whitesburg KY

More information needed right now on plan to switch health exchange

There has been little information disseminated to the public regarding Kentucky’s transition from kynect to the federal health insurance exchange.

That is troubling since the transition is reportedly set to occur on November 1. This month, the federal government approved Kentucky’s plans to dissolve its health exchange. The exchange has been held up as a model of success to the rest of the country but was something Gov. Matt Bevin vowed to dismantle even before being elected.

Bevin followed through with his plans and the U.S. Cabinet for Health and Human Services approved the move, with a caveat from an HHS employee saying that it was important that the transition be clearly explained to consumers.

That was October 4, and there still has not been information released by Bevin’s office to the media about how the transition is going to work.

Kynect, regardless of where you fall in supporting it, had a massive campaign to inform Kentuckians how to avail themselves of the system and people were paid as kynectors to help Kentuckians get into the system. Kentucky now has the smallest uninsured population it has ever had. Health care workers and other health advocates worry that is something that will change during a transition period that is not clearly outlined.

According to some reports, Kentucky will actually still have an exchange, but will be using the federal Healthcare.gov as an enrollment platform.

For consumers to consider, there also is the contraction of the Kentucky health insurance market. Aetna, WellCare, Baptist Health and UnitedHealthcare won’t offer individual health plans for 2017, according to the website healthinruance.org.

Adding to that worry is uncertainty about what will happen with the state’s Medicaid program. Bevin has asked for the feds to approve exemptions for the program that includes requiring people to pay for such things as vision and dental care with reward money they have earned either by working or doing community volunteer work and requiring sliding scale premiums. Bevin has said Kentucky’s expansion of Medicaid would only be maintained if the waiver was approved. The comment period on Bevin’s application has ended.

What will happen in either scenario, and the full impact, needs to be clearly explained to Kentuckians.

— Bowling Green Daily News

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