healthcare

Kentucky continues leading the nation in a dubious category: the percentage of children living in poverty.  A new report finds that level has gone up 36 percent over the past two years.

Dr. Guy Shrake says the still-recovering economy may be partially to blame for the number of children living below the poverty line

“As a pediatrician myself, it is possible that there still is some residual from the impacts of the recession a number of years ago,” said Dr. Shrake.

But he also cites another factor.

“In a general sense, we do know that more children are in one-parent family than there have been in the past and that that is definitely a cross-connection for having more children in poverty,” said Dr. Shrake.

In 2012, only 23 percent of children in Kentucky were living in poverty. In the most-recent America’s Health Rankings report released today by UnitedHealth Foundation, it’s at nearly 32 percent. 

Tonya Ratliff’s 15-year-old son Tyler has been living with diabetes for 10 years.  Two years ago, doctors told the Owensboro family they’d have to start replacing the insert in Tyler’s diabetes pump more frequently.

“It already was a lot, and that would double it," she said. "So I was like ‘I don’t think I can do that,'."

With three sons, it would be an extra financial burden the Ratliff family. Their doctor told them about a foundation that helps pay for medical expenses not covered by a healthcare plan.  

Since 2007, the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation has given 7,500 grants across the country. In the last three years, 90 of them have been in Kentucky, providing nearly $300,000 for families with children 16 and under. The organization is trying to increase the number of Kentucky families who receive assistance.

“It was a life-changing experience for us, because we literally lived paycheck to paycheck and this was a great burden off of us,” said Ratliff.

The program can cover up to $5,000 dollars in expenses, and each child can receive a maximum of $10,000 over a lifetime.

Pair of New Insurers Interested In Joining 'Kynect'

Jun 17, 2014
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

At least two new health insurance companies say they want to sell policies on Kentucky's health insurance exchange.

The exchange, named kynect, is the website where people can sign up for the state's Medicaid program or purchase discounted private health insurance plans, depending on their income.

Ohio-based CareSource and Florida-based WellCare have filed paperwork with state regulators indicating their interest in selling policies through kynect. Both companies provide Medicaid plans in Kentucky but have not sold on the individual market.

The Department of Health and Human Services released insurance premium prices for federally-run exchanges today, including Tennessee, showing premiums in some states are lower than initially estimated.

But Kentucky’s exchange called kynect is state-run and wasn’t on that list.

Kynect has released the actual costs and range of plans for certain hypothetical situations. Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokesperson Gwenda Bond says people can find out their individual costs beginning Oct. 1, which is the first day to apply for open enrollment.

Bond says all but 50,000 of the more than 600,000 uninsured Kentuckians will qualify for either the Medicaid expansion or premium subsidies through kynect.

A new political group will hit the airwaves just after the Kentucky Derby to oppose the federal healthcare law.

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition will run ads attacking the Affordable Care Act. They've declined to release the spot early, but have hinted that it will feature various voices calling the law a train wreck.

The KOC is run by three area women, Kristen Webb and  Bridget Bush of Louisville and Karen Sellers of Paintsville. The group is being advised by Scott Jennings, a longtime ally of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. Jennings is also running a separate Super PAC aimed at helping re-elect McConnell. 

Even though the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional, it still faces opposition from Republicans who hope to repeal it.

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 former president and chief executive officer of The Medical Center in Bowling Green has died. John Desmarais passed away Tueday at his home in Logan County.

The Executive Vice-President of Health Affairs at the University of Louisville is pleased with today's Supreme Court ruling upholding the President's health care law. Dr. David Dunn told WKU Public Radio Americans should be happy that an estimated 32 million people who haven't had health insurance will now be covered.

A new competition to spur innovation in the healthcare industry is happening soon in Kentucky. The Bluegrass Code-a-thon offers a $10,000 prize to the person who comes up with the best healthcare innovation in a single day.

The Leitchfield-based Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center and Norton Healthcare held a news conference to announce a formal affiliation agreement. Officials say the agreement will provide the staff at Twin Lakes access to on-line courses and training available through Norton University, and will lead to better coordination and continuity of care for patients who require specialized or tertiary care.