Health Center News

Community Health Centers Integral to Kentucky’s Early Successes in ACA Implementation

Photo courtesy of Family Health Centers, Inc.
Photo courtesy of Family Health Centers, Inc.

The state of Kentucky has become a surprise leader in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is the only southern state to implement the ACA, including setting up its own exchange—kynect—and expanding Medicaid. A new story in today’s New York Times (“For Uninsured, Clearing a Way to Enrollment”), indicates that 27,854 Kentuckians have signed-up for Medicaid, 4,631 have enrolled in private plans, and 1,000 people are enrolling daily.  Behind all the state’s success are the people on the ground assisting consumers with enrollment— the kynectors.

Times reporter Abby Goodnough followed kynectors as they worked to enroll patients across the state, including Kelli Cauley.  According to the Times, “Ms. Cauley has put 1,000 miles on her car in the last month, driving across Louisville and the surrounding counties. She has met with the uninsured at doctors’ offices, workplaces and their own kitchen tables, her laptop at the ready.”  Cauley told the Times that although she has been called a traitor by some “she has been happy to dispel myths about the health care law.”

Family Health Centers in Louisville, KY, and the work the health center has done in outreach and enrollment was also featured in the Times article, which notes that the health center (a network of seven sites in Louisville) enrolled 421 people in October and helped with an additional 260 pending applications.

“At Family Health Centers in Louisville we have 7.5 full time kynectors and a coordinator to manage it all,” Melissa Noyes, the health center’s Communications and Planning Coordinator, recently told NACHC. “The kynectors work with patients walking them through the online eligibility and enrollment process.”

This is the second time the health center has been profiled by the Times as part of its series on how the ACA affects the uninsured living in Kentucky. The first article, which appeared over the summer, focused on the centers’ diligent efforts to prepare staff and patients for implementation of the ACA. Those efforts have paid off. Even on the first day of open enrollment two households were enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace at the health center.

“As of November 1st we had worked with nearly 1,700 households and successfully enrolled 421 households into health care coverage,” said Noyes. “We are working closely with a coalition of 20 organizations in our community to organize our outreach and enrollment efforts across the city and Jefferson County.”

Kynectors at the health center say patients have felt good about their options and have qualified for subsidies that made their health insurance premiums manageable.

Stayed tuned as we keep you updated about the work of Family Health Centers and other health centers like it that are connecting people to insurance coverage.