Nearly 636,000 Kentucky adults covered by Medicaid, new report shows

foundation for a healthy KYMedicaid covered almost 636,000 adult Kentuckians ages 19 to 64 in the second quarter of this year, according to a new report released by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

The findings are in the latest report from an ongoing study of the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Kentucky, commissioned by the Foundation in 2015. Of the 635,747 adult Kentuckians covered by traditional and expanded Medicaid as of June 30, 2016, 493,199 comprised the expansion population and 142,548 were covered by traditional Medicaid, the report said.

A copy of the new report, the 6th quarterly snapshot of the Study of the Impact of the ACA Implementation in Kentucky, is available by clicking here.

Funded by an endowment, the mission of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by informing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. For more information, please click here.


Kentucky ranks 35th in overall child well-being, according to latest KIDS COUNT Data Book

KY Youth Advocates logoKentucky ranks 35th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book that was just released. In addition, Kentucky ranks 38th in economic well-being, 27th in education, 16th in health, and 37th in the family and community domains.

“The real issue is not a drop or increase of one position, but rather that Kentucky continues to be in the bottom one-third of all states,” Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) Executive Director Dr. Terry Brooks said in a news release. “Are we really content with the idea that two-thirds of America’s children are better off than Kentucky kids?”

All four indicators in the health category showed improvement for Kentucky: The percent of children without health insurance fell from 10 percent in 2008 to 6 percent in 2014; the rate of child and teen deaths fell from 29 per 100,000 in 2008 to 24 per 100,000 in 2014; the percent of low birth-weight babies fell from 8.2 percent in 2008 to 8.0 percent in 2014; and the percent of teens abusing alcohol or drugs fell from 8 percent in 2007-08 to 5 percent in 2013-14.

“We are seeing better health outcomes for kids in Kentucky, and expanded health coverage and access to quality care play a vital role in making that happen,” Dr. Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky said in the news release. “Families have been able to sign up for benefits online, streamlining the enrollment process. The decrease in kids without coverage may be due in part to expanded Medicaid coverage for low income adults that began in January 2014. Research shows that when parents have health coverage their children are more likely to also be signed up for health insurance.”

The national KIDS COUNT Data Book, which was co-released by KYA, provides state-level data and rankings; the 2016 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book, which includes county-level data and rankings, will be released in November.

To read the full report, please click here. For more information about the Data Book and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, please click here.


Number of uninsured Kentucky residents continues to drop, report shows

foundation for a healthy KYThe number of Kentuckians without health insurance continues to drop, and new Medicaid enrollees continue to take advantage of free preventive health services, according to an ongoing study of federal health reform’s impact in the state.

According to the latest quarterly report, the rate of uninsured Kentuckians was 7.5 percent in December 2015, down from 9 percent in June 2015. The national rate in December was 11.7 percent. In 2013, before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Kentucky’s uninsured rate was 20.4 percent.

“Lack of insurance is a significant barrier to getting necessary health care and preventive services timely,” Susan Zepeda, CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said in a news release. “Tracking this and other key information about access to and cost of care in Kentucky helps to inform health policy decisions.”

The report also showed that Medicaid covered 41,493 dental preventive services, 9,708 breast cancer screenings, 8,276 substance abuse treatment services, and 5,589 colorectal cancer screenings to enrollees age 19-64 during the fourth quarter of 2015. Most of these services were provided to beneficiaries covered under Expanded Medicaid, rather than traditional Medicaid.

The Foundation for a Health Kentucky is paying the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota more than $280,000 for a three-year study of how the ACA is affecting Kentuckians. This study used data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which produces state-level estimates of coverage twice a year.


Kentucky leads nation in reducing number of uninsured residents

KentuckyKentucky continues to lead the way in the reduction of people without health insurance, according to new polling by Gallup Inc.

Both Kentucky and Arkansas registered a decline of 12.9 percentage points from the time that the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014 through the end of 2015, but in percentage terms, Kentucky’s drop of 63.2 percent was larger than Arkansas’s drop of 57.3 percent. Oregon came in second place, with a drop of 62.3 percent.

Kentucky and Arkansas are the only Southern states to have expanded Medicaid and have a state health-insurance marketplace under the ACA. In both states, the uninsured rate was cut by well over half – Kentucky’s dropped from 20.4 percent to 7.5 percent, while Arkansas’s dropped from 22.5 percent to 9.6 percent.

However, with 7.5 percent still uninsured, Kentucky still trails several states in the percentage of population that does have health insurance.

For more information, please click here.


Rate of Kentuckians Without Health Insurance Continues to Drop

kyA recently released Gallup poll  shows that the number of Kentuckians without health insurance continues to fall, with only 9 percent of residents saying they are without health insurance. This is the second largest drop since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, when 20.4 percent of Kentuckians were uninsured, behind only Arkansas (down from 22.5 percent to 9.1 percent).

Kentucky was one of the states that immediately created its own private insurance exchange, Kynect, in 2013, along with expanding eligibility for Medicaid to those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty rate — the latter making up a large majority of the Kentuckians who have gained health insurance, according to an Insider Louisville article.

Nationally, the uninsured rate has fallen from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 11.7 percent. Seven of the 10 states with the greatest reductions in uninsured rates have expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership, while two have implemented one or the other.


Matt Bevin Clarifies Earlier Statements About Future of Expanded Medicaid if He’s elected Governor

After a forum Tuesday at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s Business Summit and Annual Meeting in Louisville, Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin clarified his previous statements regarding his proposed plans for the expanded Medicaid system in Kentucky if he is elected governor.

According to a report from Al Cross of Kentucky Health News, Bevin said that “he favors a modified plan based on the experience of other states such as Indiana, which received federal waivers to create a complex program in which Medicaid beneficiaries pay premiums (as small as $1 a month) to get better benefits, and some clients make co-payments for non-emergency use of emergency rooms.”

Bevin’s opponent, Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, has claimed that Bevin would “on day one” remove all the expansion enrollees from the Medicaid program, repeating that twice during Tuesday’s forum.

To read more coverage of the forum, check out this report CN2 reporter Nick Storm.


Kentucky Candidates for Governor Debate Future of Expanded Medicaid at Forum

15The campaigns of Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin have definitely heated up ahead of the November election for governor. On Thursday, the candidates debated at a forum hosted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau.

According to an article posted online from Ryland Barton of WFPL, the most heated exchange of the forum centered around the Affordable Care Act and the future of Expanded Medicaid in Kentucky.

Specifically, Conway accused Bevin “of wanting to kick 500,000 people off of health insurance, calling him ‘callous,’” Barton wrote, while Bevin replied that “he wouldn’t kick people off insurance, but rather to do away with the state-run health insurance exchange, Kynect, and move recipients onto the federal exchange.”

To read the full report, click here.



‘Dashboard’ Provides Closer Look at Expanded Medicaid Population Around Kentucky

The new “Medicaid Dashboard gives county-by-county details on the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who signed up for Expanded Medicaid through kynect, including the preventive measures they received and the chronic conditions they were diagnosed with. It was created as part of the first-year report put together by Deloitte Consulting for Governor Beshear’s office. For more information, see this post at Kentucky Health News.