FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — After more than a year of preparation, Kentucky is set to begin signing up uninsured residents for health coverage Tuesday through an online marketplace that offers a variety of policies with premiums as low as $47 a month.
Gov. Steve Beshear has pressed to implement the federal health care reforms for his state, which, he points out, ranks among the worst in the nation in nearly every measure of health.
"Frankly, we can't implement the Affordable Care Act fast enough," he said.
On Tuesday, Kentucky begins the first phase of that implementation. People can then begin enrolling in health insurance plans through the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, the online guide to insurance policies.
"This has been a monumental achievement," said Carrie Banahan, executive director of the exchange. "We realize there could be some bumps along the road and some glitches, but we're ready to take applications."
The open enrollment period runs through the end of the year, and the policies go into effect Jan. 1.
Premiums range from less than $50 a month for a healthy single person to more than $700 a month for a family of four. Annual deductibles range from $1,000 to $12,600.
Beshear said four out of five Kentuckians will be eligible based on income cutoffs for federal subsidies ranging from less than $100 to more than $500 a month to help pay the premiums.
Banahan said individuals with annual income up to $45,960 can get the subsidies, as can families of four making up to $94,200 a year.
Beshear said that in all, some 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians will be able to obtain new coverage. Nearly half of those will be added to the state's Medicaid program. The remainder will be able to get insurance through the exchange.