Interview with Susan Zepeda, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
An annual statewide poll shows that one-quarter of Kentucky adults are without health insurance.
The Kentucky Health Issues Poll is funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. That group's President and CEO, Susan Zepeda, says an even higher number of adults in the commonwealth was without coverage for at least part of 2013.
"Three in ten Kentucky adults were uninsured at some point in the last 12 months, which really underscores the need for helping people get access to insurance," Dr. Zepeda told WKU Public Radio.
Zepeda says the recent poll is important because it sets a baseline for how many Kentuckians have health insurance, and from what sources, ahead of the broader impacts of the federal Affordable Care Act.
That baseline, Zepeda says, will help policy analysts determine how much effect the changes related to the ACA are having on individuals and states.
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.
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.
A new report shows fewer workers in Kentucky and Indiana are getting health insurance through their jobs. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says 59.5 percent of Kentuckians under the age of 65 received health insurance through their job or a family member’s job in 2011. That’s a drop of more than 9 percent from 2000.
In Indiana, 63 percent of those under 65 got health insurance through jobs in 2011, down nearly 15 percent from 2000.
Tennessee saw a 10 percent drop over that same time period.
Nationwide, the report found that 11.5 million fewer Americans get insurance through the workplace.
You can see the complete Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report here.
A judge’s order blocking a Christian health sharing group from doing business in Kentucky has rallied supporters. This week, Judge Thomas Wingate ordered Christian Care Medishare to stop operating in the commonwealth immediately as part of an on-going legal battle between Medishare and the state. Christian members of Medishare pay into an account that can be used to pay other members' medical bills. And the state says the organization must follow the same rules as insurance companies.
The advisory board tasked with overseeing Kentucky's health insurance exchange is set to have its first meeting Thursday. The 19-member board is made up of public officials, insurance executives, doctors and consumer groups. The agenda is short, focusing mainly on organizational tasks like forming subcommittees. The board is also getting an overview of the exchange from Executive Director Carrie Banahan.
A debate over Kentucky’s health insurance exchange ended with a walkout by Democratic lawmakers Wednesday. They were angered over an attempt by Republicans on the joint Health and Welfare committee to declare Governor Steve Beshear's executive order establishing the exchange illegal.
Governor Steve Beshear has decide to expand the board of the new health insurance exchange, while also naming those members today. The now-19 member board includes top level officials from Kentucky’s major insurers, including Anthem, Humana and Bluegrass Family Health.
A new Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll shows a near majority of Kentuckians oppose President Obama’s health care law, with a clear majority against the mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine. But that same poll indicates overwhelming support for several key parts of the Affordable Care Act.