Home » Kentucky experiences second-largest drop in uninsured rate in the nation

Kentucky experiences second-largest drop in uninsured rate in the nation

Gallup finds the commonwealth’s uninsured rate drops to less than 12 percent since Jan. 1

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2014)– Kentucky achieved the second-sharpest decline in the uninsured rate of adults since the Affordable Care Act took effect in January 2014.

Kentucky’s uninsured rate dropped from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 11.9 percent halfway through 2014 for an 8.5 percent decline, according to a Gallup poll released this week.

healthinsuranceAll of the top 10 states reporting the largest decline in the number of uninsured fully implemented health care reform, expanding Medicaid eligibility and establishing a state-based health benefit exchange or a state-federal exchange partnership. Only Arkansas saw a greater drop in the uninsured than the commonwealth.

“From day one, Kentuckians swarmed our exchange, kynect, eager to gain health insurance coverage, some for the very first time in their lives,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Some had previously been insured, but were priced out of the market or had a pre-existing condition that made it nearly impossible to find affordable health care coverage. Kynect eliminated those barriers to becoming insured for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians. To see this steep decline in the uninsured rate in such a short period of time reaffirms that kynect is working and we made the right decision for the health and well-being of our citizens.”

Kynect has been hailed as a national model since it was launched Oct. 1, 2013.

At the close of open enrollment April 15, 2014, more than 413,000 Kentuckians had enrolled in health care coverage through kynect, including more than 82,000 who had purchased a private insurance plan.

Seventy-four percent of those who purchased a private insurance plan qualified for some level of financial assistance to help with their premium costs. Surveys of kynect enrollees revealed that about 75 percent of applicants who signed up during the initial open enrollment period reported they did not have health insurance prior to signing up for coverage through kynect.

As of the end of July 2014, more than 521,000 Kentuckians have now enrolled in health care coverage through kynect. This number represents individuals who purchased a qualified health plan and those who met eligibility requirements for traditional Medicaid and Medicaid expansion. This is an enrollment total and does not take into account normal fluctuation that exists within the Medicaid population as members sometimes gain or lose eligibility based on employment and income status.

Individuals who qualify for traditional Medicaid or Medicaid expansion may visit kynect to enroll in coverage at any time. Only those individuals who experience a qualifying event, such as the loss of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, may purchase a private health insurance plan outside of open enrollment. The next open enrollment period for individuals who wish to purchase a qualified health plan through kynect begins Nov. 15, 2014, for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Gallup’s poll is the first nationwide survey of the uninsured in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Results were based on telephone interviews with a random sample of more than 178,000 adult Americans. The copy of the poll results may be found here.