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Kentuckians rush to state site for health insurance

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By Brad Bowman

Kentucky’s health benefit exchange hosted about 60,000 unique visitors looking for affordable health care on the Kynect website on Oct. 1, and the interest for health care continues to grow.

The Kynect website opened for business at 12 a.m. on Oct. 1 and by 8 a.m. 24,000 users visited the site, filing 1,015 applications.

“The response has been swift and enormous,” Governor Steve Beshear said in a press release. “The fact that nearly 60,000 unique visitors have clicked on kynect.ky.gov in its first day tells us that not only are Kentuckians ready for real, affordable health care, they don’t want to wait another minute to find it.”

Despite hiccups of heavy traffic that halted the website’s ability to process applications, the Kynect office continued to field 3,243 calls and 110 e-mails. Call center workers also conducted 103 online chats. 52,095 people conducted pre-screenings to determine qualifications for subsidies, discounts or programs like Medicaid. By Oct. 1, about 2,000 application had been started with an additional 1,235 applications completed.

The mad dash for health care may be because Kentuckians who sign up before Dec. 15 will have coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014.

According to statistics from the governor’s office, about 175, 000 people clicked on the health benefit exchange’s website and viewed more 3.1 million pages.

Although visitors have had trouble completing applications on the website, almost 7,000 Kentuckian now have health insurance out of  the state’s 640,000 uninsured residents.

By Monday, Oct. 7, 155,016 visitors had conducted pre-screenings to see if they qualify for subsidies, discounts or Medicaid type programs. Out of the 22,053 applications started, 14,755 applications have been completed, according to the governor’s office.

Not just individuals or families have started the process.

According to the state health exchange numbers, 209 small businesses in Kentucky started applications for their employees.

The exchange encourages people to call who need assistance processing their application in the early afternoon when there is less customer traffic.

For more information call the Kynect contact center at 1-855-4kynect (1-855-459-6328) or visit the website at www.kynect.ky.gov.