With Deadline Approaching, Nearly 300,000 Kentuckians Have Signed Up for Health Insurance

Mar 13, 2014

The deadline to sign up for insurance through the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, and avoid a 2015 tax penalty, is March 31.

The vast majority of Kentucky's health benefit exchange enrollees are signing up for coverage under Medicaid.

Numbers released Thursday by the state show 80 percent of those who have signed up for medical coverage through Kentucky's benefit exchange have done so through the expanded Medicaid program. The remaining 20 percent will get coverage through private insurance companies.

Kentucky has enrolled nearly 300,000 people so far in its health exchange, known as Kynect. Deputy Executive Director Bill Nold says officials are pleased with the number of young Kentuckians who have signed up through the exchange.

"If you look at our total enrollment, about 48 percent are under the age of 35," Nold said.

Health exchange operators throughout the nation have been concerned that not enough younger, healthier people would sign up for coverage before the March 31 deadline.

Those younger customers are needed to subsidize health care for older and less healthy individuals.

Sign Up Saturday

To avoid a tax penalty in 2015, people must have signed up for insurance by the end of March, or at least be insured for nine months of the year.

With that deadline fast approaching, Nold says a major push is underway to get procrastinators signed up.

"This coming Saturday, we're having what we call 'Sign Up Saturday' in 117 of our 120 counties, primarily at the local libraries. (Kynect staff) will be present there, to help people sign up and to provide information."

Sign Up Saturday events are taking place at libraries in several cities in our listening area, including Bowling Green, Glasgow, Owensboro, and Somerset.

Here are details on some of those Sign Up Saturday events on March 15:

Warren County Public Library 10 am-2 pm

Daviess County Public Library 9 am-3 pm

Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library in Glasgow: 12 pm-2pm

Pulaski County Public Library: 9 am-1 pm