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A Kynect Comeback: Kentucky To Return To State-Based Exchange

Gov. Andy Beshear is reviving Kentucky's state-based health insurance exchange, an element of Kynect launched under his father, former Gov Steve Beshear's, administration.

The move doesn't yet amount to a full blown reboot of the celebrated Kynect program, but it does reverse the decision by his predecessor, Republican Matt Bevin, to move Kentucky to the federal healthcare portal.

"I believe we can do this much better than the federal government," Beshear said Wednesday. "We proved that many years ago, and as we move forward, this is going to be just one part of a larger set of announcements on healthcare we anticipate we will be making in August or potentially even September."

One key driver is cost. Right now, Beshear says Kentuckians are shelling out nearly $10 million in user fees to access the federal government's sign-up site. Turning the state-based exchange back on and upgrading it, he says, will cost a $5 million one-time fee, but yearly costs will drop to $1-2 million — potentially lowering premium prices for residents.

"We have an opportunity to be better, to get healthier, to save money, and ultimately to provide that basic human right that is healthcare," Beshear argued.

In other announcements Wednesday, the governor said in-person sites set up to take care of unresolved unemployment claims will continue to operate for the rest of the week.  He also unveiled his choice to become the state's next social services director: former Center for Women and Families director Marta Miranda-Straub.

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.