Federal government grants approval to transition from kynect to federal exchange

10/04/2016 08:48 PM

The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services has signaled they will allow Gov. Matt Bevin to transition away from kynect despite reservations over loss of coverage in the commonwealth.

Bevin’s administration has said kynect offers the same service that the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, provides.

“This is not unexpected since we’ve continued to hit every milestone throughout the process,” Gov. Bevin said in a statement sent to Pure Politics on Tuesday. “This transition will allow Kentucky to achieve substantial cost savings while still allowing citizens to enroll in qualified health plans.”

In a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services first reported on by WFPL CMS Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt wrote Kentucky has “adequately displayed successful implementation of Account Transfer functionality, Non-Employer Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) functionality, and transition-related changes to the Benefind Self-service Portal and Worker Portal.”

“A detailed assessment of Kentucky’s milestone completion as of the September 21-22 ORR will be sent in a subsequent letter,” Slavitt continued. “Based on the results of this ORR, the Commonwealth has met the required transition milestones to date and demonstrated implementation of the system functionality necessary to operate kynect on the federal platform, and we are permitting the transition effective November 1, 2016.”

However, CMS continued in the letter by saying the transition could “disrupt the seamless system of coverage that kynect established.” In the letter, Slavitt said eligible Kentuckians could face delays or lack access to health coverage.

Slavitt said CMS would continue to closely monitor the transition of healthcare.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Kentucky’s lone federally elected Democratic lawmaker, lauded the success of kynect in lowering costs and dropping the uninsured rate in Kentucky and voiced his frustrations with the first-year Republican governor’s transition to the federal health exchange.

“Governor Bevin’s decision to abandon this national success story will jeopardize coverage for tens of thousands of residents, increasing costs and leaving them with far fewer plan options,” Yarmuth, D-Louisville, said in a statement. “His decision to rush Kentuckians into the federal exchange by November 1 will create additional confusion and result in even more loss of coverage for residents.”

“It’s unfortunate that the misguided campaign promises and foolish political posturing of one man will do so much harm to so many Kentucky families,” Yarmuth continued. “This is a sad day for our Commonwealth.”

Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear expanded Medicaid and implemented kynect under the Affordable Care Act via Executive Order, leaving little recourse from the General Assembly for or against the proposals.

The Beshear-backed group Save KY Healthcare also issued a statement predicting devastation under the soon to come transition.

“This morning, HHS granted approval for Gov. Bevin to transition kynect, Kentucky’s successful state-based exchange to a federal platform, but not without warning him about the high risk of user delays, gaps in coverage, and anticipated confusion as Kentuckians attempt to adjust to a more complicated system,” the group said in a statement.

HHS acknowledged the successes of kynect, which has helped more than 500,000 Kentuckians gain access to insurance for the first time over the past three years, and study after study has found the current system sustainable and affordable. It is disappointing that Gov. Bevin is once again putting his rigid right wing ideology ahead of the health and well-being of Kentuckians.“

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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