Survey: Employer Health Insurance Coverage Rising in Kentucky

A two-year decline in the number of working-age Kentuckians who get health insurance from employers reversed in late 2013, according to survey results released Monday by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

The survey was done before the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and is meant to give a “baseline” for how Kentuckians are getting health insurance, so it can be compared to future years, said Susan Zepeda, president of the Foundation for a Health Kentucky.

“Hopefully, here in Kentucky, using the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, we’ll be able to track year over year whether we’re seeing more or fewer employees getting insurance through their employers and whether we’re seeing a continued downward in the number of people who are uninsured,” Zepeda told WFPL.

Among Kentuckians 18-64, 44 percent are insured through their employer or their spouse’s, the survey results said. Last year, 37 percent relied on employers for health insurance.

The percentage of uninsured Kentucky adults decreased, too—25 percent in late 2013 compared to 28 percent in 2012. The percentage of Kentuckians who relied on Medicare, Medicaid and/or military benefits decreased to 20 percent in 2013 from 27 percent in 2012.

But three of 10 Kentuckians surveyed went without health insurance at some point in the 12 months before they were contacted, the foundation said. 

The survey doesn’t get to the question of why more Kentuckians have health insurance through employers, Zepeda said. “Perhaps we’re starting to slowly starting to climb out of the recession in terms of employment,” she added.

The survey was conducted Oct. 25 to Nov. 26  to a random sample of 1,551 people interviewed via telephone, the Foundation for a Health Kentucky said.

The interviews were done in the early sign up period for Kentucky’a health care exchange, called Kynect. 

At the beginning of 2014, 116,000 Kentuckians had enrolled in healthcare coverage through Kynect—3/4 of those enrollees signed up for the Medicaid program expanded under the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Steve Beshear’s office said. 

Americans who aren’t insured by April will have to pay a tax penalty under the Affordable Care Act. 

Joseph Lord

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

@joseph_Lord

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