By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Oct. 23, 2013 — Earlier this month, the Affordable Care Act officially took effect and online health exchanges throughout the nation began the process of enrolling individuals, families and businesses in new health insurance plans.
While the technical difficulties with a large number of exchange websites have been the subject of a broader national debate, Kentucky's online exchange – Kynect – has escaped relatively unscathed.
Since the ACA enrollment period began Oct. 1, Kynect has had more than 280,000 unique visitors to the site. Of those visitors, 47,069 have applied for coverage and 18,370 have enrolled in new coverage plans.
In the same time period, Northeast Community Action Agency has conducted several hundred counseling sessions with interested individuals and families throughout the FIVCO area and they have processed 60 applications.
Northeast Director David Carroll expressed satisfaction with Kynect's functionality thus far, and specifically how it has fared compared to other exchanges throughout the country.
“Kentucky is really ahead of the game compared to the rest of the country in the implementation,” said Carroll.
The fact that Kentucky ranks high among the states in efficient implementation shouldn't come as a surprise.
Gov. Steve Beshear has been a strong proponent of the ACA since its inception, making it the near-singular focus of his second term in office.
“This is the single-most important decision in our lifetime for improving the health of Kentuckians,” Beshear said of the ACA.
Carroll urged interested Carter County residents to contact their representative as soon as possible to schedule a counseling appointment.
“We can answer some general questions over the phone but people should really schedule an appointment if they want to know the ins and outs of the new system,” said Carroll.
He also added that time slots are quickly filling up, so those who want to meet with counselors could be waiting several days for appointments.
Those interested in their options under the new healthcare law should contact Northeast to schedule a counseling session.
The primary contact for Carter County is Charity Brown, who can be reached at (606) 225-7419 or (606) 474-8118.
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.