Feds give OK to disconnect kynect

FRANKFORT, Ky. (COURIER-JOURNAL) – Starting Nov. 1, Kentuckians will have to use the federal health exchange to shop for coverage rather than kynect, the highly-praised state health exchange launched under former Gov. Steve Beshear.

Federal officials on Tuesday gave cautious approval to Gov. Matt Bevin's plan to dismantle the state health exchange launched in 2013 as a means for Kentuckians to shop for health insurance or enroll in Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Bevin had pledged to shut down the state exchange that he said was redundant and steer Kentuckians seeking commercial health insurance plans to healthcare.gov. Kentuckians seeking Medicaid, the majority of people who obtained coverage through kynect, will have to use benefind, the state's new on-line enrollment system.

While approving the plan, a top official with the U.S. Health and Human Services Department expressed concern about the impact of the transition on the about 500,000 Kentuckians who gained health coverage through kynect.

"We remain concerned that kynect's transition to the federal platform may disrupt the seamless system of coverage that kynect established," Andrew Slavitt said in a letter to Bevin.

The changes "may result in confusion for Kentucky consumers; it is therefore essential that the transition be clearly and effectively communicated ..." the letter said.

The change represents fulfillment of a campaign pledge for Bevin, a Republican, who has vowed to dismantle the health initiatives of Beshear, a Democrat who took full advantage of federal health care law.Bevin, a Republican, who has vowed to dismantle the health initiatives of Beshear, a Democrat who took full advantage of federal health care law.

This story will be updated. 

Reporter Deborah Yetter can be reached at dyetter@courier-journal.com.


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