Kentucky's health care exchange will begin enrolling the uninsured Tuesday and will move forward despite wrangling at the federal level over the possibility of defunding the Affordable Care Act.
"Posturing over the federal budget and implementation of the Affordable Care Act just reiterates the way Washington works — or rather, doesn't work," Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday in a statement. "These threats to shut down the government are strictly insider maneuvers to score political points."
Kentucky officials have consistently said the state health exchange, called Kynect, will begin enrolling some of the state's 640,000 uninsured residents on the earliest possible date allowed by the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare.
Beshear reiterated Monday that the state expects that funding for the new health care program and the state's expanded Medicaid coverage are considered mandatory programs and will not be affected by a government shutdown.
In fact, Beshear Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and other key state officials plan to make multiple appearances across the state to promote open enrollment in the health care exchange. Beshear will be at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in Lexington at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, nearly all uninsured Americans, with very few exceptions, must obtain health insurance. Kentucky is one of 17 states opting to create its own health insurance program, or exchange.
Enrollment begins Tuesday and is open through March 31, primarily through the program's website, Kynect.ky.gov.
The state estimates that of Kentucky's uninsured residents, 308,000 will be newly insured under an expanded Medicaid program. An additional 332,000 will be able to sign up for private insurance through the exchange. All but about 50,000 of those newly signing up for insurance will receive subsidies, Beshear said.
Tuesday is the first time that the full range of coverage rates will be publicly available in Kentucky, although several other states have released their rates. The rates of those states that are using the program created on the federal level also have been released.
To get more information, to enroll in a health insurance program through the Kentucky exchange, called Kynect, or see whether you are eligible for Medicaid, go to Kynect.ky.gov or call 1-855-459-6328.