Tuesday was the inaugural day for Kentucky's Health Benefits Exchange.
The Kynect website went live at 12 a.m. Tuesday, and according to the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, 24,000 people browsed to see what they might be eligible for and over 1,000 applications were processed by 9:30 a.m.
As expected, there have been a some hiccups along the way.
"The high volume of traffic is causing a few technical glitches, but we have an IT command center fully staffed who are working diligently to iron out any issues. People can continue to browse the site, but we encourage any visitors who experience problems to check back later to begin their application process," said Gwenda Bond, a spokeswoman in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
"There will be a message on the site to provide an update as we work to ensure everything is running smoothly. This surge of early applications demonstrates the pent up demand for quality health coverage for many Kentuckians, who will be able to have that coverage beginning January 1, 2014, because of the ACA."
Kentucky's Health Benefits Exchange can be accessed at kynect.ky.gov.
Budget cuts to a Kentucky government agency will mean less funding to help low-income families pay for child care. Citing a nearly $87 million budget shortfall, the Department of Community Based Services says it will also dramatically cut a program that pays relatives who are caring for children taken from their parents.
Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes says the cuts will begin as early as April 1. According to Haynes, the Department of Community Based Services has for years dealt with decreased funding by cutting back in areas that didn’t directly affect needy families. But she says that's now impossible.
The Courier-Journal reports the budget cuts come at a time of increased need throughout the Bluegrass State, with more than 11,000 children being taken care of by relatives who receive $300 a month to help cover expenses.
Because of the cuts, the Child Care Assistance Program in Kentucky will take no new applicants until June of 2014. That program gives financial help to low-income families who can’t afford child care while parents work.
The next public forum over Kentucky’s upcoming health insurance exchange is being held Friday in Owensboro. The federal healthcare overhaul calls on each state to create its own marketplaces in which residents can compare and purchase insurance plans, or sign up for Medicaid.