Thousands in Kentucky seek health insurance, face delays - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Thousands in Kentucky seek health insurance, face delays

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More than 57,000 people visited the state's marketplace, called KYNECT, by mid-afternoon. By that time, the state had received 1,235 completed applications. More than 57,000 people visited the state's marketplace, called KYNECT, by mid-afternoon. By that time, the state had received 1,235 completed applications.
Sondra Powell Sondra Powell
Bill Roberts Bill Roberts

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Thousands of Kentuckians looked into their insurance options Tuesday as part of the new health care law, although glitches delayed plans to enroll online.

More than 57,000 people visited the state's marketplace, called KYNECT, by mid-afternoon. By that time, the state had received 1,235 completed applications.

People had problems registering and submitting applications online, even though the system had been tested before the marketplace opened, said Gwenda Bond, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet of Health and Family Services.

"The issue discovered today could not be replicated within the test environment," she said. "We thank Kentuckians for bearing with us during these technical glitches today, and are so pleased that we are already experiencing such high demand."

About 101,000 people in Jefferson County don't have health insurance and are eligible to apply using the state's website.

Among those trying to enroll was Sondra Powell, co-owner of Red Hot Roasters coffee shop in Louisville.

Powell, who hasn't maintained health insurance for 13 years because of its high cost, was able to register but couldn't start her application late Tuesday afternoon. The state's service center line was busy when she tried to call.

"I'm not disillusioned by not being able to do this today. I've got three months," she said. "I just want the same thing everybody else has – I want to be able to go to the doctor if I'm sick."

People faced similar delays in Indiana, whose residents are using the federal marketplace along with more than 30 other states.

Bill Roberts, an attorney with Hall Render in Louisville who advises health care providers about the new law, said the federal website had about a 20 minute delay when he got on Tuesday to test the system.

"This is a tremendous change, and I don't think anyone could expect it to be flawless on Day One," he said.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people came to Jefferson Community & Technical College Tuesday to enroll in the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange.

"Now is the time to begin enrollment here in the Commonwealth for the Affordable Care Act," Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson said. "October 1 is the date we started it all to transform healthcare to provide comprehensive, affordable, and on top of all that, quality healthcare for over 650,000 Kentuckians who otherwise have no health insurance to provide for themselves and their families."

One by one, members of Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA) met with people who were uninsured and individually insured as well as employees of small businesses. The one-on-one sessions had been designed to help people sign up for KYNECT, but an overwhelming online response temporarily crashed the www.kynect.ky.gov website.

KYNECT assistants went through pre-screenings will all guests interested in enrolling in the affordable health care.

"I just appreciate that this country is trying to move in the right direction," said Bennett Pruitt, 53, of Louisville. "I haven't had any health care in over ten years."

Pruitt sat through a pre-screening to enroll in KYNECT. The full-time JCTC student from Michigan applauded the coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act.

"I think it's just good for the whole country," Pruitt said.

Not everyone in attendance at the KYNECT launch agreed.

"I know we've got issues with our health care and that's something that affects all of us. I don't think this is the answer," said Bishop Dan Johnson of Heart of Fire Church. "We have something that's been forced on the American people without a vote. That's taxation without representation. So, we're being forced to pay something."

Kentucky leaders said benefits with KYNECT outweigh any problems, by connecting the Commonwealth's uninsured residents with health care coverage.

"People need a hand up," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "With accountability, we give it to them and healthcare is obviously one of those benefits."

To learn more about KYNECT or to enroll, visit www.kynect.ky.gov or call 1-855-4kynect (459-6328).

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