Reversing his Republican predecessor, Kentucky’s Democratic governor announced plans to bring back a health insurance program that was credited with signing up hundreds of thousands of people for coverage before it was dismantled.
Gov. Andy Beshear said last Wednesday that he sent a letter to federal officials notifying them of his plans to revive the state’s health insurance exchange at the start of 2022. The program was an outgrowth of the landmark Affordable Care Act championed by then-President Barack Obama.
Beshear’s father, former Gov. Steve Beshear, launched the state’s online exchange in 2013, but it was dismantled by Gov. Matt Bevin who followed. The state’s exchange, dubbed kynect, allowed Kentuckians to purchase commercial health plans or sign up for Medicaid — a joint federal and state health care program for poor and disabled people.
The state can do a better job of running the exchange, he said, adding that doing so would lower health insurance premiums for many Kentuckians. They now pay a 3% surcharge on insurance plans obtained through the federal site, amounting to $9.8 million a year, he said.