Kentucky's health exchange—part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare—has become a “national model,” Gov. Steve Beshear said on Wednesday in Louisville.
As of Tuesday, nearly 8,000 people were enrolled and more than 16,000 completed applications through the state’s Kynect website, which opened last week. Many states, as well as the federal government, have encountered problems with their exchange websites, such as excessive downtime and confusing interfaces.
Beshear said this new accessibility to insurance will be a great benefit to more than 640,000 Kentuckians without coverage.
“The Affordable Care Act is a tool,” he said. “It’s a historical opportunity to change the course of Kentucky’s history when it comes to healthcare.”
During a press conference in Louisville on Wednesday, Beshear recognized the state’s history of poor health.
“We are one of the least healthy states in the country,” he said.
Despite this, Beshear said he is prepared to do what it takes to ensure each Kentucky resident has insurance coverage.
“Whether it takes six month or two years, as long as we get there,” he said.
Despite glitches on the first day, Kentucky—along with California, Washington and New York—has been a leading state since the health care exchange took effect on Oct. 1.
In New York, residents have completed more than 40,000 applications. California has reported more than 16,000 competed applications and Washington residents have been able to enroll in more than 9,000 plans, with 10,000 completed applications. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia are operating exchanges separate from the federal government.
The program, of course, has its critics.
Open enrollment for individuals and businesses seeking to purchase insurance through Kynect lasts until March 31, 2014.