LEX 18 News Investigates

Oct 24, 2013 6:03 PM by Josh Kegley

LEX 18 Investigates: The Real Cost To Kentuckians For The Affordable Care Act

Getting online and signing up for The Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," was supposed to be easy. But even President Obama admits there have been multiple problems with the websites.

Except for here in Kentucky. And the reasons why is today's LEX 18 News Investigates.

LEX 18 just got new numbers from the Governor's office Thursday afternoon. Were told 26,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in new health care plans. But at what cost?

LEX 18 investigative reporter Richard Essex has been digging into the cost of the Affordable Care Act.

What could you do with $254 million dollars? It sounds like a question we would ask for a lottery story. But that is how much is being spent to set up and run the Kentucky health benefits exchange. That cost does not cover any health insurance - that $254 million is just to set up the system.

So what are we getting for $254 million? The numbers are really staggering. That is the amount the state received in federal funds. We received four grants.

Our second grant for was for $7.6 million, and that was to define the system requirements for the exchange. Once the state figured out what they needed, a company was hired to set up the system. Our third grant was $57.8 million, and that was to procure the vender to develop the system for the exchange, which was Deloite.

Most of you know it as Obamacare or The Affordable Care Act. The state calls the program "kynect." All of the money is being used to set up the program, not one dime is going to actual health care.

Now - lets get back to the money trail once the state had all of the software and hardware they thought the program needed. They need staff for both the computer center and call center. This is the expensive part, and our fourth grant, which was $182 million dollars, and that was to help meet the federal certification requirements for our health benefit exchange and then to fund the operations of the exchange through 2014.

In total, there are 100 people working the call center. All of them are employees of the Xerox company., which is the company hired to run and operate the call center. The Cabinet for Health and Family services has hired 60 special computer IT contractors, plus another 40 IT people have been brought in from another outside contractor. So, in total, 123 people are running this website and manning the kynect phone center.

Total funding around $254 million dollars as of this date, and about $80 million of the funding has been spent.

To drill down into these numbers a little further - $80 million has been spent by the state so far, and they have $174 million left to cover operational expenses for the next year.

So far, the state tells us they have enrolled 26,000 people into new healthcare plans. 21,342 have enrolled in Medicaid.

Do these numbers have your attention? There's more. To maintain the website for the next five years also has a cost, and the cost to you and your current healthcare insurance is also in line to take a hit.

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