Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Vicky Yates Brown Glisson explained the details of decommissioning Kynect and moving Kentucky from a state based exchange to the federal exchange to the House Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services Wednesday. The Beshear administration had previously said it would cost the state $23 million to make the transition to the federal exchange but the Bevin administration says the actual cost to transition is expected to be $236,000.
“The methodical approach by this administration is paying off,” Secretary Glisson said. “By transitioning to the federal exchange, Kentucky will save $20 million a year that can be used for other pressing healthcare needs without compromising access to health insurance products.”
By transitioning to the federal exchange, Secretary Glisson said that it will eliminate redundant spending and save the state money. Brown Glisson also told the committee that Medicaid recipients would be able to use a new system, Benefind, which will be live as of February 29th and it should cut down on error rates, save time and validate recipient’s eligibility.
Several providers were at the committee meeting who testified there are still concerns when it comes to dismantling Kynect. Barry Martin, CEO of Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky, stated his concern about the impact to his business after transiting to the federal exchange. Martin stated that since the inception of Kynect he has seen a 24% increase in patients and a 29% increase in office visits. He explained this has allowed him to increase his employees by 23% and expand their facilities. Other testimony encouraging keeping Kynect included the CEO of Clover Fork Clinic and the CEO of Health Point Family Care.
All three CEO’s originally expressed their concerned but stated after listening to the presentation mentioned that it might not have the substantial effect on their businesses as they were expecting.
This week Rep. Darryl Owens (D) filed House Bill 5, which calls for Kentucky to continue to operate a state-based healthcare exchange and provide the current same functions as Kynect and House Bill 6, which would continue the current expansion of the Medicaid program.