The Richmond Register

Local News

September 26, 2013

Rates on Kentucky exchange please some lawmakers

FRANKFORT — Likely all anyone has heard in recent days about the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” has been the effort by some Washington Republicans to defund the law before it’s implemented.

But the executive director of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, an online shopping site where Kentucky residents and some small companies can compare insurance costs and buy coverage, said the new law will begin to take effect in Kentucky on Tuesday.

And some state lawmakers — though not all — are “pleasantly surprised” by the new insurance rates which will be available on the Kentucky exchange, called “kynect.”

Carrie Banahan told the Interim Joint Appropriations and Revenue Committee on Thursday that kynect will allow individuals and employees of small businesses to shop for health insurance and compare coverage and costs. Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees may also shop for insurance on the exchange.

Individuals whose incomes fall between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level can qualify for subsidies while those who make less than 138 percent can now qualify for Medicaid.

Consumers may choose among plans with varying premium prices and deductibles with generally higher premiums for lower deductibles. But all the plans offer “essential health benefits,” including some usually not offered by private insurers before passage of the law.

Banahan provided several examples of what individuals of various incomes might be expected to pay.

For instance, a healthy single woman in her twenties might pay as little as $51 per month but would have a deductible of $6,300. The actual premium price would be $127 per month, but with an income of $20,000 a year from a part-time job, she would qualify for a federal subsidy of $76 per month, lowering her cost to $51.

If the same woman wished to lower her deductible to as little as $1,000, her monthly premium would increase to $112 per month after receiving a federal subsidy.

A family of four with a family income of $70,000 would see a premium of $501 per month but would pay only $403 a month after subsidies. They would have a $12,600 deductible. If the family wished to lower its deductible to $2,000, their monthly premium, after subsidies, would be $614.

Those rates impressed some Democratic lawmakers and maybe even a Republican or so.

“I’m pleasantly surprised at the premiums,” said Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown.

Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, said, “The premiums for individuals are extraordinarily low – with the subsidies. I’m also pleasantly surprised because of all the noise, perhaps that’s not the best word, but I thought we were headed for Armageddon.”

Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, said he wasn’t “very impressed.” He quizzed Banahan on the readiness of the website and how easily one could call to have questions answered. He had earlier left the room and said he’d done so to call the exchange and had been put on hold. He also couldn’t open the link to the website.

Banahan said the site is not yet up and running but will be by Tuesday. She said the phone lines can handle up to 200 calls a day.

Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, R-Monticello, said the rates quoted by Banahan were better than she expected but she asked if “younger, healthier individuals are looking at significant premium increases.”

Banahan said younger individuals may pay higher premiums but they can also enroll in a catastrophic plan with higher deductibles to hold down those premiums.

Younger, healthier people generally will face higher rates under the new law while older persons with health problems are expected to see lower premium costs. That’s because prior to the law, insurance companies could factor age and health in setting rates but under the new law must set rates based on “community ratings” of geographical location, age, and whether one smokes or not.

While several Republicans criticized individual aspects of the plan, Sen. Bob Leeper, I-Paducah, zeroed in on the total cost, noting it may save money in Kentucky but the subsidies have to be paid by the federal taxpayers,

“That’s us,” Leeper said, noting the federal government is already running huge deficits.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Berea utility doubles solar farm, again

    Berea Municipal Utilities started its solar farm in October 2011 with 60 panels. In less that five days, all were leased.
    Another 60, which became operational in June 2012, were leased in less than four months.
    Now, the farm again has doubled, with the addition of 126 panels that are ready for leasing, said Steve Boyce, a retired Berea College professor who has been involved with the program since its inception.

    July 30, 2014

  • Miss Madison Winners 2.jpg My fair ladies

      

    July 29, 2014 5 Photos

  • 10th Quilt Extravaganza is Friday, Saturday

    Displays of quilts by men, baby quilts, the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, an exhibit of feed sack fabric, ongoing demonstrations, and a vendors market are features of the 10th Berea Quilt Extravaganza Friday and Saturday at Berea Community School off Ellipse Street.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-30 Samantha Frederick.jpg RPD: Heroin sales lead to trafficking indictment

    Executing a warrant issued after Samantha Frederick, 29, Northgate Drive, was indicted July 16 by a Madison County grand jury, Richmond Police arrested her Monday on drug trafficking charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 YMCA-Schools.jpg YMCA, county district to provide after-school care

    The Telford YMCA is partnering with the Madison County School District to provide after-school child care for kindergarten and elementary students.
    YMCA Executive Director Dave Wallace and Madison County School Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the partnership Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 Lucille May 1.jpg Memories bloom in May’s garden

    After realizing a story was being written about 96-year-old Lucille May, tenants of Willis Manor gathered in the lobby to share stories about her.
    Affectionately called “Mamaw” by other residents and workers at the apartment building, May has spent the four years of her residence transforming an outdoor garden that was overtaken by weeds. It’s now a thriving flowerbed, complete with interesting rocks, decorations and conversation.

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Construction 1.jpg Water Street storm-water digging begins

    Caisson holes were drilled and then filled with concrete and steel poles Monday to create a retaining structure to shore up the Allstate Insurance building foundations' firm when excavation for the Water Street Stormwater Improvement Project begins.
    Digging for 20 ton, 6 by 7 foot concrete box culverts will begin today, if weather permits, said Jason Hart, Richmond’s director of Planning and Zoning. The culverts will help reduce the likelihood of flooding on Water Street by carrying storm water under Main Street, the CVS parking lot and Irvine Street to a stream, he said.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Robert Abney.jpg RPD: Bottle bomb injures man, damages neighbor’s home

    Richmond Police on Friday charged Robert Abney, 30, of Moberly Avenue, in connection with a May 30 explosion that injured Abney and damaged a neighbor’s home.
    Officers were dispatched May 30 to a residence in the 500 block of Moberly Avenue to investigate the report of an explosion.
    They found the remains of a plastic bottle bomb near a residence adjoining Moberly’s, according to an RPD news release. A wall of the occupied home was smoldering and grass was burned in the area, it added.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Steven Coffey.jpg Two led police on I-75 chase from Berea

    Berea Police found a man passed out and intoxicated inside his crashed vehicle on Interstate 75 Wednesday, according to a police report.
    Steven Coffey, 34, of Berea, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet when officers arrived at the vehicle, the police report stated. They determined he was under the influence of drugs, the report stated.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-27 HeartChase 1.jpg A race to the finish line

    Sheltered by overcast sky and supported by a cool breeze, teams competed Saturday morning in the second annual HeartChase at Richmond Centre.

    July 26, 2014 6 Photos

AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results