What Are the Best Health Insurance Options in Kentucky?
A specific financial instrument, health insurance provides coverage for the risk of an individual or incurring medical expenses beyond their means; with the benefits being administered by a central organization; either from the government or from private for-profit organizations. In the case of health insurance, the financial benefits are borne by insurance organizations either in part or in full. In the United States, the most common form of health insurance coverage is done by the private insurance sector; one of the key segments of the financial industry.
Types of Health Insurance Options in Kentucky
For the residents of Kentucky, there are a variety of options to avail health insurance; catering to various segments such as individuals, families, and organizations. The state has created a robust private-public health insurance infrastructure and has modernized it to meet the requirements of newer laws such as the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Until 2015, Kentucky operated its insurance exchange and marketplace called Kynect; and is considered to be one of the most successful state-developed exchanges across the country. In 2015, the exchange transitioned to merge with the federal exchange. However, Kentucky is still one of the five states that operate its state-run exchange. According to the Kentucky Department of Insurance, the various options available for residents of the state to avail health insurance are as follows:
- Employer Health Insurance: One of the most common forms of health insurance in Kentucky, almost all major organizations operating in the state provide healthcare insurance for their employees.
- Affordable Care Act: Kentucky was one of the few states that chose to establish a state-wide marketplace and exchange to provide health insurance benefits for its residents. Within the state-run Kynect platform, those who purchase ACE-compatible health insurance plans can apply for financial assistance depending on their income status. The system allows for lower insurance premiums and lesser up-front costs for healthcare.
- Medicaid: In February 2015, the Affordable Care Act was declared constitutional and provided extensions to cover adults within the low-income bracket; encompassing up to 138 percent of the people below federal poverty levels. Medicaid benefits are extended to those detained in prison, people residing in medically-assisted communities such as old-age homes, as well as those residing in intermediate facilities for intellectually disabled. The Medicaid extension includes benefits for laboratory and X-ray expenditure, substance abuse services, dental and vision care, learning, and other therapeutically treatable deficiencies, family planning counseling and chiropractic services.
- CHIP: In addition to Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act provides for Child Health Insurance Program in Kentucky, giving healthcare access to low-income household children including pediatric care for infants.
- Private Insurance: Across the country, Kentucky has the highest number of people purchasing private insurance policies per capita. Some of the largest private organizations providing health insurance in Kentucky include organizations such as Anthem Blue Cross, CareSource, Humana, United Healthcare and WellCare.
In 2014, Kynect was the most popular platform for receiving and purchasing health insurance options for the residents of Kentucky. With the expansion of Medicaid, private insurance enrollment dropped by 12 percent compared to the previous year; and dropped significantly by 20 percent by the end of 2016; with the national private insurance purchase drop hovering around the 12 per-cent mark. On the other hand, the enrollment for Medicaid enhanced by over 100 percent between 1013 and 2018; about four times higher than the national average of 27 percent.