Governor Beshear says most of Kentucky’s uninsured residents would qualify for discounts on health insurance purchased on the state’s new health exchange. Speaking Tuesday in Frankfort, said at least 80 percent of the commonwealth’s uninsured would get some kind of financial assistance to help them get insurance coverage.
The new health exchange was put into motion following the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act. It serves as an online marketplace where consumers can choose state-approved insurance plans and compare coverage and costs.
Enrollment in the Kentucky exchange begins October 1.
Government officials have said an estimated 332,000 uninsured Kentuckians would be eligible to receive coverage through the new exchange. The Courier-Journal reports Beshear said Tuesday that a family of four earning $70,000 a year could buy a health plan for a little over $400 a month.
Gov. Steve Beshear has scheduled a news briefing Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on efforts to implement federal health care reforms in Kentucky.
The event is set for 1 p.m. EDT at the Capitol.
Beshear has been an advocate for the reforms that he says will provide access to medical care to more than 600,000 uninsured Kentucky residents. Nearly half of those will be added to the state's Medicaid program. The remainder, he said, will be able to get insurance through an online health benefits exchange.
Joining Beshear for the briefing will be Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes, Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange Executive Director Carrie Banahan and Kentucky Department of Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark.
Newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau show nearly 17 percent of Kentuckians under the age of 65 lack health insurance. Those figures are similar to the health insurance outlook in Tennessee and Indiana, as well.
In Kentucky, Daviess County has a relatively low number of those without insurance, at 14.5 percent. Logan County, meanwhile, has one of the highest rates of uninsured people in the state, at 22.3 percent.
The Census Bureau numbers are from 2011, and take into account each state’s residents under the age of 65, looking at all races, genders, and income levels.
You can see the Census Bureau's data in a county-by-county breakdown of Kentucky here.
Tennessee's information is here, and Indiana's can be seen here.
The University of Louisville is giving Norton Healthcare 30 days to back out of an agreement with the University of Kentucky to jointly operate Kosair Children's Hospital.
Norton announced the partnership last week, saying it wanted to strengthen pediatric care in the commonwealth. This surprised U of L officials, who have also been trying to negotiate a similar contract with Norton. U of L says the lease agreement for Kosair says the property "shall be used for the benefit of the University of Louisville."
U of L Vice President of Health Affairs David Dunn says the school has already acted on the assumption it would further partner with Norton and Kosair. He says the school has spent millions of dollars expanding operations at the hospital, and he expected to be reimbursed under an eventual partnership.
“And they’ve [U of L] done it with the understanding that Norton at some point—we thought it was a long time ago—would make good on their promises, and these are verbal promises.”
An internationally-recognized cancer research team is leaving one Kentucky university for another.
A group of top researchers is leaving the University of Louisville for the University of Kentucky, one month after UK announced it was becoming home to the state’s first National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.
The Courier-Journal reports the four researchers will establish the UK Center for Regulatory and Environmental Analytical Metabolomics, or UK-CREAM. The center is expected to bring to UK over $17-million in federal funding over five years.
Officials at UK say they didn’t actively recruit the U of L researchers, but were instead approached by them.
One of the researchers, Andrew Lane, said he and colleagues made the move because UK was in “an expansion phase, particularly in cancer, which is very attractive to us.”
What happens in our brains while we're asleep? That's one question neuroscientist Penelope Lewis is trying to answer. She directs the Sleep and Memory Lab at the University of Manchester in England. Her new book is The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest.
Lewis joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about how sleep affects memory, and how REM sleep can affect depression.
A non-profit, philanthropic group in Kentucky is partnering with seven communities in an effort to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky hopes the five-year, $3 million effort, known as the Kentucky's Future Initiative, will cut the chances that today's youth will suffer from obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
The Clinton County School District and the Green River Area Development District's Partnership for a Healthy McLean County are two of the seven partners selected for the program.
"What we're trying to do, if you will, is to bend the curve and stop the progression we see starting with our children today," says Susan Zepeda, President and CEO of The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "We don't want them to develop the kinds of chronic diseases that their parents and grandparents have, that have been holding Kentucky back."
Zepeda says the Foundation is currently in the planning stage with each of the seven grant recipients about how to best utilize the funding to attack chronic diseases.
Kentucky is one of six states along with Puerto Rico that will participate in a program to help drive down medical costs by targeting frequent healthcare system users.
Staff from the National Governors Association and other experts will help train officials from participating states to develop a plan for super-utilizers. These are patients who may benefit from less costly, more appropriate treatment elsewhere.
Dr. Stephanie Mayfield is commissioner of Kentucky’s Department of Public Health. She says the commonwealth will focus on frequent emergency room users. Last year, thousands of Medicaid patients used the ER 10 times or more.
“What we’re hoping the plan will be is that emergency rooms are there strictly to be used as emergency rooms and that we develop a plan so that they’re not de facto primary care centers any longer," says Mayfield.
The training academy will help participating states develop plans around healthcare policy. The program will run for a year and begins in August.