Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 1, 2014

370,000 enrolled in new state healthcare plan

FRANKFORT — After a huge surge of applications in the final days, more than 370,000 Kentuckians enrolled in new healthcare coverage through kynect since Oct. 1.

While open enrollment was scheduled to end at midnight on March 31, Kentuckians who encountered trouble completing or starting an application due to high demand will be able to complete enrollment starting April 4 through midnight April 11.  The pace of Kentuckians signing up for coverage before the March 31, 2014 deadline surged with more than 21,000 signups in the last three days, with approximately 12,000 on Monday alone.

 More than 1 out of every 12 Kentuckians, or 8.6 percent of the state’s population, now has health insurance through kynect.

 “We are thrilled with the level of interest and enrollment that we’ve seen for our first open enrollment period,” said Carrie Banahan, executive director of kynect. “Our goal all along has been to get new, affordable healthcare to those who need it. In order to make sure everyone who tried to start or file an application yesterday has a chance to do so, there will be a special enrollment period from April 4 to midnight April 11. We strongly encourage those who have started applications to complete them as soon as possible, to reduce possible wait times toward the end of the grace period.”

 A preliminary analysis recently 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 has already significantly reduced that number and is ensuring access to quality, affordable care each day.

The biggest jump in enrollments was for private health plan purchases, which increased by more than 6,700 plans since Friday — an 8.7 percent swell in just four days.

 The kynect website, which has been hailed as a national leader for its ease of use, saw 1.4 million page views on Monday. For comparison, the site hosted 1.1 million views on October 1, the first day of open enrollment, and 900,000 on Dec. 23, which was a deadline for Jan.1 enrollment.

On Monday, the kynect site was consistently supporting about 6,000 concurrent self-service users from 9 a.m. through midnight.

If an individual attempted to start, started or filed an application by March 31, kynect will work with them to make sure they get enrolled during that period. Individuals will also have until April 15 to select a plan, with coverage beginning May 1. After the open enrollment period, individuals will still be able to apply for Medicaid, but only those who experience a qualifying event will be able to purchase private health plans.

 It’s important to note that these enrollment numbers should not be considered final, as many more Kentuckians may be expected to complete applications, enrollments, or choose health plans over the next couple of weeks. Final numbers will not be compiled until after April 15.

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