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.
A lawsuit has been filed in the wake of a partnership announced by Kentucky's two children's hospitals.
Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville and the University of Kentucky HealthCare's Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington said last month that both institutions had signed a letter of intent to partner.
The announcement brought a quick reaction from the University of Louisville, which said the partnership could jeopardize U of L's relationship with Norton Healthcare, which owns Kosair. U of L then accused Norton of violating a land-lease agreement by entering into the partnership.
The Courier-Journal reports Norton Healthcare filed suit on Friday and requested the court "to declare (University of Louisville) threats against Kosair Children's Hospital to be without legal basis."
U of L called the filing of the lawsuit "unfortunate."
Officials with Norton Healthcare have rejected the University of Louisville’s request that they end their recently announced pediatric services partnership with UK Healthcare.
University of Louisville’s health care entity partners with Norton, which owns Kosair Children’s Hospital. The hospital sits on state-owned land and under state rules it must be used for the benefit of U of L and the citizens of the Commonwealth.
U of L officials say Norton’s partnership with UK violates that agreement, and last week they sent Norton a letter demanding that they end the agreement with UK within 30 days and instead negotiate a new contract with U of L.
This week Norton sent its own letter saying there are no legal grounds for the demands, adding there’s nothing in the agreement with the state that gives U of L a monopoly on Kosair Children’s Hospital.
U of L is threatening legal action once the 30 days are up and has requested that the Attorney General’s office look into the matter.
The director of the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center says electronic cigarettes are “quite harmful”. Dr. Mark Evers was answering questioned posed to him by lawmakers on the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee.
Dr. Evers says current research on e-cigs indicate that they may be “every bit as dangerous” as smoking tobacco. E-cigarettes deliver a vaporized solution that may or may not contain nicotine. Members of the committee say they’re trying to gauge the health impact of e-cigarettes because some local jails provide the devices to inmates at cost.
Part of the funding for the research comes from the 1998 tobacco settlement with 46 states including Kentucky.
Law enforcement groups across the commonwealth are urging residents to do away with their unused and expired prescription medications.
Kentucky now has nearly 150 permanent prescription drug disposal locations throughout the state, housed at police and sheriff's departments. The program is aimed at getting old prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets, where they can be stolen or discovered by children.
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.”