In July, Kentucky will start an experiment with how some low-income residents get their health insurance. The project, known as Kentucky HEALTH, affects a portion of people who have Medicaid coverage.
And this interactive calculator, developed by WFPL News, aims to give Medicaid enrollees and others a targeted look at what will happen to an individuals’ health coverage depending on their family size, income and other factors.
The Medicaid changes are complicated, and while WFPL has reported on the changes in multiple stories, there was no way to write about each group of people affected in one story. That’s where this calculator comes in. It breaks down the changes for people in various situations in a straight-forward way, arming Medicaid enrollees with more information before the changes kick in on July 1.
Generally, pregnant women and young adults who used to be in foster care won’t be affected. Adults without disabilities or dependents will see the most changes. And some parents will receive an exemption to some of the new requirements. At the bottom of our interactive calculator we have a glossary of health care terms readers might find useful.
WFPL health reporter Lisa Gillespie read hundreds of pages of documents, building a spreadsheet with that information and then fact checked the calculator. Data reporter Alexandra Kanik created the back-end code that went into the calculator. We consulted several health policy experts to make sure our calculator is accurate as possible.
We reached out to the Kentucky Department of Health and Family Services two weeks ago to ask for feedback and ensure the calculator’s accuracy. In a written statement, spokesman Doug Hogan said only a complete application submitted through the state would determine a person’s eligibility and benefits.
“Any tool created outside of this system would most certainly provide inaccurate information to current and potential beneficiaries,” Hogan wrote.
He declined to provide feedback on the calculator.
As we continue to learn information about affected populations, requirements and benefits, we will update the interactive. The calculator is not intended to substitute the system the state of Kentucky is building. The best way to get information on eligibility and current benefits is through Benefind.