Health reform’s exchange won’t attract many new insurers to Ky. because it’s a small, sickly state, former Medicaid boss says

Kentucky is unlikely to attract many new insurance companies when it starts its Health Benefits Exchange a year from now, a former state Medicaid commissioner told Dawn Marie Yankeelov for a story in The Lane Report.

“Kentucky is not a big attractor,” said Elizabeth Ann Johnson, a lawyer with Stites and Harbison in Lexington office. “We are a small
state for insurers, and we have a sicker population statistically – we
see high Medicaid use. I would be surprised to see new players flood
into the state.”

The exchange, required by the federal health-reform law, will be a “web-based marketplace that includes information necessary so Kentuckians
can compare price and quality as they shop for health insurance,” Yankeelov notes. “It
also will assist employers in facilitating enrollment of their employees
into health plans, enable individuals to receive insurance-premium tax
credits and subsidies, and qualify small businesses for tax credits. . . . The average employer and employee in Kentucky will be able to find
information on the exchange through a planned Navigators program, an
outreach and education program that will be staffed by employees trained
and certified to discuss the exchange.”

University of Kentucky researchers have estimated that as many as 2.4 million Kentuckians may use the exchange. “The high end of this estimate includes approximately 1.4 million
individuals currently receiving employer-sponsored insurance through their large employers,” Yankeelov notes. Her story has other good background information on the law, the exchange and the problem of the uninsured, who make up about 15 percent of Kentucky’s population. Read it here.

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