FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday the state has reconnected kynect in order to provide easier access to health coverage and other benefits.
Beshear said the new kynect offers expanded benefits, enhanced usability, a new mobile-friendly format and helps to ready the commonwealth for the return of the state-based exchange, scheduled for enrollment in 2021 to begin the exchange in January 2022. The move is expected to save Kentuckians about $15 million a year.
“Even as the state continues to battle COVID-19, we have remained committed to moving the state forward on major initiatives including expanding access to health care,” Beshear said. “Every member of Team Kentucky should have health care – it is a basic human right. Now that kynect is back, it is easier for Kentuckians to access the benefits they need so they can afford to see a doctor and get the care they deserve.”
Joined by Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) officials and community partners, Beshear said the portal looks similar to the original kynect, launched in 2013, but includes new features and services.
The portal offers access to the national health benefit exchange; access to enrollment through the state, including Medicaid, the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) and the Kentucky Integrated Health Insurance Premium Payment program.
Qualified families can now also access SNAP food assistance benefits and family and childcare assistance programs. Additional resources include support for job training, foster care, elder care and addiction, as well as support for veterans with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, homeless Kentuckians and many more people. The portal was created to bring these benefit information resources and community partners together for a better Kentucky in one location.
While the state is making progress, Kentucky still sees some of the worst health outcomes in the country, including ranking in the top 10 in lung cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Through kynect, “We expect more Kentuckians to get the aid they need to improve health outcomes,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “A healthier Kentucky leads to stronger families, better education, a better economy and a better quality of life for everyone. A better Kentucky is what we are all working toward, and kynect is helping us get there.”
Kynect, relaunched with partners collaborating to work Together for a Better Kentucky, initially started in advance of 2014 health insurance enrollment as a one-stop website for health coverage, provided options to apply for Medicaid or choose qualified health plans filed with the Kentucky Department of Insurance.
The CHFS site was lauded as a national model and helped to sign up over 500,000 Kentuckians in 2014. Since it was disconnected under the previous administration, more narrow information has continued to be accessible through benefind.ky.gov. This site will now be retired as all the benefits are streamlined on kynect.
Whether someone visits from a computer or mobile device, Kentuckians can accomplish the tasks they’ve set out to do online, without having to stand in a line to apply for benefits.
Kentuckians can now also track the progress of an application and see the next steps after an application is completed. Applicants can snap a photo of documents with a smartphone and upload it if the information is requested for the application.
Beshear said to generate statewide awareness, a comprehensive marketing campaign has been developed that will reach every portion of the state. Familiar animated characters representing all walks of life are featured in television, print, outdoor and digital advertising.