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Kynect Signups Pass 300,000, But Deadline Looms

Over 300,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in healthcare coverage through the state’s benefits exchange.

But with only weeks remaining before the enrollment window closes and uninsured individuals could be liable for a financial penalty of $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater, officials from the governor on down are making the case for coverage.

"It's been a lot of work up to this point and we're happy with where we are," Bill Nold, deputy director of the state's benefits exchange office.

The state won’t have final data on the net gain in insured Kentuckians until after the 31st, but so far the numbers show close to half of all enrollees are part of the coveted younger demographic.

"About 48 percent are under the age of 35. If you isolate that and look at strictly the QHP (qualified health plan) population, it's about 32 percent that are under age 35. So it sounds like those numbers are pretty consistent with what I'm hearing from other states," he says.

Attracting a large enough pool of younger, healthier enrollees to offset the cost of covering older consumers is considered key to the success of the Affordable Care Act. Administration officials have estimated that about 40 percent of the enrollees need to be between 18 and 34 to keep rates stable.

Of the 300,290 signed up as of Friday, only about 61,000 have signed up for private plans. The rest have qualified for Medicaid.

Currently, close to 1 in 14 Kentuckians is covered through Kynect.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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