Health Reform WK-EDGE Kentucky Governor follows through on promise to kick kynect
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Kentucky Governor follows through on promise to kick kynect

By Patricia K. Ruiz, J.D.

Newly elected Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) has followed through on his campaign promise to shut down kynect, Kentucky’s state-based health insurance exchange created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148). In a December 30, 2015, letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Bevin gave notice of his intention to “wind down and cease operation of the Commonwealth’s State Based Exchange . . . and transition to the Federal Exchange as soon as is practicable.” The move by Bevin will have no impact on those purchasing coverage for the 2016 plan year.

Jessica Ditto, a spokesperson for Bevin, said, “The vast majority of Kentuckians are paying an assessment to support a website that they do not use. This will ensure that the assessments are only applied to those using the exchange,” as reported by the New York Times. The administration does not anticipate that it will have to repay any of the $290 in federal funds its received to build the exchange, but federal officials suggested that a repayment of the $57 million not yet spent would be required.

Following Bevin’s election, some questioned his ability and intention to carry out his promise to dismantle kynect (see Will the newly elected Kentucky governor send the ACA packing?, November 10, 2015). However, as of December 18, 2015, the Bevin administration cancelled any of the exchange’s pending advertising, which was reportedly federally funded (see Kynect to continue through January, advertising disconnected, January 6, 2015). The cancellation of pending advertising followed the rejection by the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet of former Governor Steve Beshear’s request to extend the contract between the state and the ad agency administering the campaign.

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