75 percent of enrollees report they did not have insurance before signing up
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 24, 2014) — More than 321,000 Kentuckians are now enrolled in new healthcare coverage through kynect, and that number is expected to keep growing in the final days of open enrollment.
A preliminary analysis has found that approximately 75 percent of all enrollees report that they did not have insurance before signing up for healthcare coverage through kynect. With approximately 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians prior to the start of open enrollment on Oct. 1, kynect is helping significantly reduce that number and ensure access to quality, affordable care each day.
In the past week, nearly 3,100 Kentuckians have signed up each day for quality, affordable health insurance.
Individuals who remain uninsured as of April 1, 2014, could face a financial penalty of $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater. That penalty applies to every uninsured member of a household and increases significantly from year to year.
“Tens of thousands of Kentuckians have taken the initial application steps and know they are eligible for a subsidy to help lower the cost of purchasing health insurance,” said Carrie Banahan, executive director of kynect. “In these final days of open enrollment, we strongly encourage those folks to complete their applications and choose a plan. After March 31, subsidies to help cover the cost of a private health plan won’t be available again until the fall enrollment period – and by that point, being without insurance may cost you on your taxes.”
Since Jan. 1, 2014, hospitals and other healthcare providers have received more than $45 million in payments for services provided to individuals newly eligible for Medicaid coverage. These include payments of $18 million to Kentucky hospitals and $15 million to Kentucky pharmacies. The vast majority of the nearly 20,000 newly insured patients seen by hospitals and reimbursed for services would have been considered indigent prior to Medicaid expansion and most likely would have been written off as uncompensated charity care by the hospitals.
Beshear’s decision to expand the income eligibility requirement for Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level has allowed many low-income Kentuckians access to health care, many for the first time. These include individuals making less than $15,856 a year and families of four with income below $32,499. These figures don’t include reimbursements to healthcare providers for patients with new private health insurance.
About 1 out of every 13 Kentuckians, or 7.5 percent of the state’s population, now has health insurance through kynect.
Nearly half of all kynect enrollees (49 percent) are under the age of 35.
The below statistics reflect activity on kynect as of 6 p.m. Thursday, March 20:
♦ 321,932 Kentuckians are enrolled in new health coverage
♦ 257,477 have qualified for Medicaid coverage
♦ 64,455 have purchased private insurance
♦ 49 percent of all kynect enrollees are under the age of 35
♦ 32 percent of all private health plan enrollees are under age 35
♦ 1.3 million unique visitors viewing 48 million web pages
♦ 787,591 individuals have conducted preliminary screenings
♦ 74,551 have been found eligible for a subsidy to purchase a qualified health plan, some have yet to select a plan
♦ 684,347 calls have been handled by the kynect contact center
Silver is by far the most popular metal level of private health insurance, with more than 41 percent of plans purchased. Platinum is next with 28 percent, followed by gold at 17 percent and bronze at 11 percent. Catastrophic plans make up less than 2 percent of plans purchased.
To get the word out about the fast-approaching March 31 deadline, several special kynect outreach events are being held this month across the state by the Office of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. Staff will be on hand to provide information and help individuals enroll. Additional events may also be held by local kynector groups, nonprofit agencies and others during this time.
Kentuckians can also call the kynect call center at 1-855-4kynect or search at kynect.ky.gov to find a kynector or insurance agent who can assist them with enrollment.
For further updates on kynect numbers, visit governor.ky.gov/healthierky. Statistics will be updated there regularly.