- Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) is moving forward on his promise to dismantle Kynect, the state’s health insurance exchange, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agreeing this week that the state has met the required transition to HealthCare.gov on November 1.
- The 74,640 people currently enrolled in plans through the state exchange will have to re-enroll for 2017 via HealthCare.gov, as consumer information will not transfer.
- Bevin has sought to scrap the exchange since his campaign, arguing it to be redundant to HealthCare.gov and estimating the move will save the state $20 million per year.
Bevin's moves to dismantle the state exchange – as well as chip away at the previous administration's Medicaid expansion – have been fraught with controversy given what supporters have considered significant success under each program. Former governor Steve Beshear (D) launched a major campaign and petition to attempt to save his healthcare policies, in which he cited improved health, nearly $3 billion in direct revenue to the state’s providers, and more than half a million more people having attained coverage.
Further, CMS' letter to Bevin this week mentioned concerns with the transition, and makes points against his argument that Kynect adds no value.
The letter stated, "Kynect's transition to the federal platform may disrupt the seamless system of coverage that Kynect established," noting it may cause eligible people to face delays or lack of access to coverage for which they are eligible. It also highlighted the Kynect platform was "highly successful in making fast, accurate determinations for coverage" because it was an integrated eligibility system, meaning consumers could have their eligibility determined and then enroll on one website and in one sitting.
Upon the move to HealthCare.gov, CMS noted, many Kentucky consumers will have to start their application in one place, undergo a waiting period while the application is transferred and processed, and then complete the enrollment on a different platform.
The letter further noted the risks of a major systems transition and warned that key milestones still remain, including staff training and consumer communication.