HOT BLAST: What does Kentucky know that other states do not?
Nov 05, 2013 | 1393 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Carrie Banahan, executive director of Kentucky's Health Benefits Exchange, demonstrates how to use a new Kynect information kiosk for Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson. (AP photo)
Carrie Banahan, executive director of Kentucky's Health Benefits Exchange, demonstrates how to use a new Kynect information kiosk for Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson. (AP photo)
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The hyperbole -- on both sides -- about the rollout of the marketplaces for the Affordable Care Act is nearly unbearable. Finding truth amid the bluster can be difficult.

But one truth has been repeated often: In Kentucky, the signup process is going well.

Today, The New York Times published a lengthy examination, including video, of the Kentucky system. The central question: Why is it working like a charm in Kentucky? Or, put another way, what does that state know that others don't?

One of the key elements is the use of counselors to help people, face-to-face, determine which plan suits them and sign them up online. For people not comfortable navigating a complex system of questions and answers online, that's a huge help.

The Times wrote, "President Obama and proponents of the health care law have held up Kentucky in recent weeks as a model for the national enrollment effort. The state is far ahead of most of the nation in signing up people: As of Nov. 1, more than 27,854 Kentuckians had enrolled in Medicaid under the law’s expansion of that program, and 4,631 had signed up for private plans through the state-run exchange, known as Kynect. The state says it is enrolling 1,000 people a day.

"In contrast to the federally run exchange with all its problems, Kynect has had relatively few — for several reasons, Kentucky officials said. The primary contractor, Deloitte, worked closely with the state agency that runs health programs, ensuring guidance and oversight. Unlike the federal government, the state tested its online exchange early and often, so problems were addressed before the website went live. And people can check whether they qualify for Medicaid or subsidies without creating an account, a requirement that caused huge bottlenecks on the federal exchange."

-- Phillip Tutor
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