Gov. Steve Beshear Tuesday unveiled sample insurance rates that will be available when Kentucky’s health benefit exchange, kynect, launches Oct. 1.
But he urged residents, both with and without health insurance, to shop on the online portal because 85 percent of Kentuckians could qualify for subsidies or discounts under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Businesses that employ fewer than 25 workers could also be eligible for tax credits, he said.
During a Capitol news conference Tuesday, Beshear called the move to provide health coverage to more than 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians through kynect and expanded Medicaid “a historic opportunity.”
“Our collective health is horrible,” Beshear said. “It’s been horrible for a long time, and no critic of the Affordable Care Act has stepped up with any feasible, large-scale plan to do something about it.”
Beshear’s decisions to implement kynect and expand Medicaid coverage has drawn criticism from Obamacare opponents.
The Republican-led Senate passed bills that would require legislative approval for the health benefit exchange and Medicaid expansion in this year’s legislative session, but those measures went nowhere in the Democrat-controlled House.
Earlier this month, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd upheld Beshear’s decisions in a legal challenge by Nicholasville tea party activist David Adams.
“The time for partisan debate is long passed,” Beshear said. “The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land.”
The state will be divided by the eight Medicaid regions, and at least two of the five insurance companies contracted to provide coverage through kynect — Humana, Anthem, United Healthcare, Bluegrass Family Health and the Kentucky Health Cooperative — will offer plans in each region, Beshear said.
Franklin County falls in region five on the Medicaid map.
Tuesday was the first time the administration presented examples of fees under kynect this year, but Beshear said he could not provide averages because the fee structure depends on many variables.
Kentucky has received some $250 million in federal grants to set up the exchange, but the program must be self-sustaining by 2015. While the federal government will fully pay for Medicaid expansion, funding will begin declining in 2017, eventually hitting 90 percent by 2020.
Sample plans and fees
>A healthy 22-year-old college student who doesn’t smoke and earns $20,000 at a part-time job would receive a $76 federal subsidy and pay $51 monthly for the lowest plan, called bronze, and $112 for the highest, called platinum.
>A physically disabled 24-year-old who earns $24,000 would get a $29 federal subsidy and pay $98 per month for the bronze plan and $159 for platinum.
>A 50-year-old smoker who earns $30,000 would get $89 in subsidies and pay $160 monthly for the bronze plan and $279 for platinum.
>A 32-year-old single mother of two children who makes $40,000 would get $178 in subsidies and pay $133 for the bronze plan and $281 for platinum.
>A couple in their mid-50s who earn $34,000 collectively would receive $520 in subsidies and pay $47 per month for the bronze plan and $317 for platinum.
>A family of four that makes $70,000 would get $98 in subsidies and pay $403 for the bronze plan and $641 for platinum.