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Beshear Submits Declaration Of Intent For Transition To State-Based Healthcare Exchange

Screenshot of Governor Andy Beshear's Facebook Live

Governor Andy Beshear has submitted a declaration of intent letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to transition to a state-based healthcare exchange beginning Jan. 1, 2022. 

Beshear said the coronavirus has “taught us critical lessons,” including a “critical and deadly lesson on the importance of healthcare.”

“This pandemic shows us that lack of healthcare options make us more vulnerable and less resilient,” he said. 

Beshear said Kentucky has moved backwards on healthcare in the last four years.

“The rate of uninsured children and overall the rate of uninsured Kentuckians grew,” Beshear said. “We had less options as we went forward for coverage.”

Credit Screenshot of Governor Andy Beshear's Facebook Live

Beshear also said Kentuckians have been paying more over the last four years to “get less.”

Beshear said Kentucky implemented a state-based exchange known as Kynect in 2013. Beshear said through Kynect, approximately 500,000 newly eligible Kentuckians were enrolled in Medicaid coverage and qualified health plans. 

“Kynect was one of the most successful exchanges in the country, and because of it we reduced our uninsured Kentuckians at the highest rate in the country for several straight years.”

According to, a platform for consumer information on health insurance and health reform, “More than 521,000 people obtained health insurance coverage through Kynect in 2014 — either private health insurance or Medicaid. During the open enrollment period for 2015 coverage, another 152,529 people enrolled in Medicaid through Kynect (Medicaid enrollment continues year-round), and 106,330 people enrolled in private plans through Kynect, 26 percent of whom were new to the exchange for 2015.”

Beshear said former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin dismantled Kynect in 2017. Kentuckians then used the Federal Health Exchange for qualified health plan coverage.

“To support a federal exchange a user fee is included in every individual’s premium. You sign up on the federal exchange. You as a Kentuckian pay a three percent user fee to the federal government,” he said.

Beshear said that fee for Kentuckians collectively last year was $9.8 million. He said several states are transitioning from a federal exchange to a state-based exchange to avoid this user fee.

“We can reduce the cost of premiums to Kentuckians if we go back to a state-based exchange,” he said. “We can also improve efficiencies and we believe we’re going to be able to offer more opportunities to Kentuckians.”

Beshear said the cost of returning to a state-based exchange is a one-time $5 million fee for the system and $1-2 million per year for ongoing operations. He said this saves Kentuckians $2.8 to $3.8 million the first year, and $7.8 to $8.8 million in the following years.


Credit Screenshot of Governor Andy Beshear's Facebook Live

“We hope to be able to ultimately save in the cost of their premium millions upon millions of dollars,” Beshear said. 

Beshear said the transition not only provides Kentuckians a reduction in premiums, but also integrates with Medicaid to offer a “single-door access to coverage.”

“It also allows us greater flexibility and autonomy than the federal exchange, where we can extend the annual open enrollment period and offer special open-enrollment periods,” Beshear said.

Beshear said as the state comes out of the coronavirus pandemic, “we want to be better.”

“We want to build a better economy. We want to provide better healthcare. We also want stronger families so that we can live our values and our obligation to protect and provide as especially for our children,” he said. 

Beshear said Kentucky is number one in the United States for child abuse.

“As the dad of two young children, that is absolutely unacceptable, and I spent much of my time as attorney general combatting this and the untenable amounts of human trafficking, a foster care system that sometimes inflicts more trauma than it prevents on our kids. We must do better.”

Beshear said “doing better requires good leadership” and invited Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander to the podium to announce the appointment of Marta Miranda-Straub as the new commissioner of the department for community-based services.

Friedlander said the department for community-based services works on eligibility programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP and TANF, as well as child well-fare and adult and child protection. He said Miranda-Straub brings 40 years of experience as a professor at Eastern Kentucky University and with the Center for Women and Families. 

Credit Screenshot of Governor Andy Beshear's Facebook Live

Miranda-Straub said she is humbled, honored and energized by the appointment. 

Beshear said the deadline has passed to request absentee ballots for the primary election. He said a record number of absentee ballots have been requested. He said those voting in person will vote June 23. 

Beshear said the state is providing 5,000 masks, 4,000 gallons of hand sanitiser, 5,800 face shields and 20,000 to the Kentucky Board of Elections. He said the PPE will be distributed to all 120 counties. 

New Kroger Health testing locations for next week include in Warren County. People can sign-up online for the slots. 

Beshear confirmed 170 new cases of coronavirus in the state this week. He said 416 Kentuckians are currently hospitalized and 61 are in the ICU. He said 3,444 people have recovered from the virus. Beshear said 329,710 tests total have been administered in Kentucky. Of the new cases, Beshear said 22 are residents and 15 are staff members of long-term care facilities. He also reported six deaths today, including one from a long-term care facility.

Beshear confirmed 12,995 total cases of coronavirus in the state.

Beshear said as COVID-19 restrictions are easing, the state is able to offer in-person services for those experiencing issues with their unemployment insurance benefits. He said during the past two days, in-person unemployment insurance services have been located near the capitol. 

“I believe over the two days we’re going to have helped at least 1,100 people directly, face-to-face,” he said. 

Beshear said the state will provide in-person services in Frankfort Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Cabinet headquarters are located at 275 East Main Street in Frankfort. He said signage in the parking lot will guide people on where to go, and there will also be priority lines. On Thursday, there will be a priority line for anyone who’s filed in March and hasn’t been helped. On Friday, the priority line will also include people who filed in April. Everyone else will go into a separate line. 


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