- Kentucky’s newly sworn in Governor Matt Bevin (R) notified the Obama administration he will dismantle the state’s Kynect health insurance exchange by the end of this year, forcing residents who want coverage under the Affordable Care Act to use the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace.
- Bevin’s office said in statement the Kentucky-run marketplace was a “redundancy,” according to Louisville-based WFPL News.
- Kynect currently serves more than 500,000 people.
Bevin broke the news in a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. He had promised to close down Kynect during his campaign for governor.
The decision won’t affect people trying to get health insurance for 2016 or individuals who used Kynect to obtain Medicaid benefits, The Washington Post noted.
With Kynect out of the picture, Bevin plans to focus resources on the state’s expanded Medicaid program, which already has provided health insurance to more than 400,000 Kentuckians whose household incomes fall below 138% of the federal poverty level.
During Kynect’s first two years of operation, Kentucky’s uninsured rate fell from 20.4% to 9%. Jason Bailey, executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, called the decision to end Kynect a “big step backward,” according to WFPL.
Kentucky is one of 12 states and the District of Columbia that has a state-based heath insurance marketplace, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Another four states have federally supported marketplaces, seven have state-partnership marketplaces and 27 have federally facilitated exchanges.