The state of Kentucky has become a surprise leader in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It was the first southern state to implement the ACA, set-up its own exchange—kynect—and expand Medicaid. So far nearly 8 percent of the state’s population, more than 350,000 people have signed up for coverage. Behind all the state’s success are the people on the ground assisting consumers with enrollment— the kynectors.
New York Times reporter Abby Goodnough followed kynectors as they worked to enroll patients across the state, and tracked some of the state’s progress by speaking with patients at Family Health Centers in Louisville, KY for a series of articles, the most recent of which appeared on March 30th, 2014 (In a New Health Care Era, Blessings and Hurdles). The article notes,
“…in the daily bustle of the seven Family Health Centers clinics scattered around Louisville, a city of 600,000, the law’s early effects are starting to show. Across the country, community health centers serve more than 20 million people a year, providing primary and preventive care in low-income neighborhoods where private doctors are scant. Their patients are disproportionately uninsured — just over half of the 38,000 patients at Family Health Centers last year had no coverage — and unhealthy.”
“At Family Health Centers in Louisville we have 7.5 full time kynectors and a coordinator to manage it all,” Melissa Noyes, the health center’s Communications and Planning Coordinator, told NACHC. “The kynectors work with patients, walking them through the online eligibility and enrollment process.”
The health center has been profiled by the Times as part of its series on how the ACA affects the uninsured living in Kentucky. The first article, which appeared over the summer, focused on the centers’ diligent efforts to prepare staff and patients for implementation of the ACA. Those efforts have paid off. Even on the first day of open enrollment two households were enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace at the health center. There has been steady progress. The health center has so far helped nearly 5,000 people apply for coverage. Kynectors at the health center say patients have felt good about their options and have qualified for subsidies that made their health insurance premiums manageable.
Stayed tuned as we keep you updated about the work of Family Health Centers and other health centers like it that are connecting people to insurance coverage.
In New Health Care Era, Blessings and Hurdles (NY Times March 30, 2014)Print this story