by Joe Arnold
Posted on April 22, 2014 at 1:40 PM
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) — Governor Steve Beshear could hardly wait to reveal Kynect’s new totals, directing a large sign in a Capitol meeting room be turned to show the figure, 413,000 Kentuckians– about ten percent of the state’s population–have signed up for health insurance through the state exchange.
“From the beginning, I knew that Kynect would change the course of Kentucky’s history by helping hundreds of thousands of Kentucky families,” Beshear said.
Even after the federal government’s more generous introductory reimbursement rate expires in three years, Beshear says a healthier Kentucky will translate into a more prosperous Kentucky and a net positive for the state budget.
Beshear said a Price Waterhouse Cooper study projected 17,000 jobs and a $15 billion economic impact of Beshear’s embracing of the Affordable Care Act.
“Overall, this will end up from a budget standpoint as a plus over the next eight years and not a minus,” Beshear said.
“This is working,” Beshear said. “That’s the bottom line. It’s working. We started out with 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians. It’s estimated that 75 percent of these 413,000 never had insurance before.”
David Adams, the Tea Party activist suing Beshear to stop the state based exchange, said the administration is inflating the Kynect numbers by including pending application in its enrollment totals.
“In America, we have been wildly overestimating the number of uninsured for a long time,” Adams said.
According to the state’s numbers, 330,615 Kentuckians, about 80 percent of the 413,410 new enrollees, qualify for Medicaid.
It appears that Kynect has fallen far short of projections of those who would buy private health insurance on the exchange.
According to the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, Kentucky’s share of President Obama’s goal of 7 million people signing up for private health insurance through government exchanges is 220,000 people.
But, the governor’s office says 82,795 people have purchased private insurance on Kynect, or about 37 percent of that target.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services said the numbers don’t reflect people who bought insurance outside of Kentucky’s exchange.
“We do not have the numbers of all the people that did not belong to Kynect but went directly to their health insurance company,” Audrey Tayse Haynes, the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said.