FRANKFORT - More than 100,000 Kentuckians can mark another item off their shopping lists: medical coverage.
Kentucky's state-operated online insurance marketplace has had a rush of people signing up for policies over the past month so that they would receive coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Gwenda Bond, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, said officials had geared up for the anticipated surge.
"We increased server capacity before Thanksgiving to boost it by 80 percent," Bond said. "We're up about 62 percent since Thanksgiving, going from 1,000 new enrollees a day to 3,000 per day in the past week."
More than 500,000 people have conducted pre-screenings to determine their eligibility for discounts, government subsidies or Medicaid coverage through Kentucky's online insurance marketplace.
As of Monday afternoon, 74,054 people had enrolled in Medicaid and 26,042 in private health insurance plans.
Kentucky has been receiving generally good reviews for its handling of the health care changes so far. By setting up its own online marketplace, Kentucky has avoided the widespread technical glitches that have plagued the federal system. But the process hasn't been entirely pain-free.
Some of the 280,000 Kentuckians whose insurance policies don't comply with the Affordable Care Act are poised to lose their current coverage in coming months.
About 130,000 Kentuckians have individual policies that don't comply with the federal health care reforms.
Another 150,000 people are enrolled in small group policies that don't conform.
All were on track to have their existing policies discontinued until President Barack Obama granted a potential reprieve in November, allowing insurance companies to continue offering existing polices for another year even if they don't meet minimum standards of the law.
Only three major Kentucky insurers accepted Obama's offer to extend old policies.
Kentucky also doesn't appear to be attracting large numbers of the young, healthy people needed to make the health care reforms financially viable.
"They can't wish away the many problems with Obamacare here and they can't keep lying about how great it is to people who know better," said Kentucky tea party activist David Adams, an ardent critic of the health care reforms. "If Kentucky Obamacare were a horse, we would be talking about which dog food company to call."
posted on: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 5:29 PM
Hats off to Steve Beshear for putting Kentucky ahead of the game! Great job!