"It feels very good to be a Kentuckian right now."

Kendell Nash, a KFTC member in Jefferson County, does not shy away from ways to make Kentucky better, and there are certainly some good starting points that most Kentuckians are aware of, especially this week. But yesterday, after signing up her family for health insurance on KYNECT, Kendell said, "It feels very good to be a Kentuckian right now."

Kentucky is playing a key role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It is the only southern state to have opened up a state-based marketplace. (Governor Beshear's affirmation of how Kentuckians would benefit drew national acclaim. Check out this New York Times story about the pepople left behind in states that have not opted in.)  It is one of only two southern states (Arkansas is the other) to be moving toward expanding Medicaid to higher incomes. Further, the process of getting people signed up for health coverage seems to have gone better in Kentucky than in many other states. 

Kendell had her family signed up before sunrise on October 1. "It was really smooth. You didn’t have to have anything on hand." She was stunned by how much her family would benefit. "We’ve been waiting for affordable health care for years. Now, we're going to save $5,000 to $10,000 dollars a year out of pocket. My husband works 40 hours a week in the service sector. We recognize that we've been lucky that he's even had health insurance available through his job, and that his employer paid some of the costs. But once my son’s premium, my premium, and my husband’s premium all came out of his paycheck, that *was* his paycheck. We haven’t been upwardly mobile in the last few years because of health care costs."

"The impact of this is huge for us. It's going to help us get ahead on student loans, and we'll still be able to save some."

Kendell is also excited about the implications for her son, Owen, who has a pre-existing condition. "It's such a relief to know that he'll have access to health care, even with a pre-existing condition." Owen's pre-existing condition is hearing loss. "His hearing aides are vey expensive, like $6000 every two or three years. We always have to fight with the insurance company to cover them, and my husband and I have already had conversations about how we'd make sure that he had the money to pay for them once he's off our insurance. Now we have at least eight more years of stable coverage."

"There are so many people who are going to benefit from it. I’m just so proud of the state right now. And I’m impressed with Gov. Beshear, the way that he was so public about it."

"This is going to be life-changing for us."

Now, 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians have access to affordable health care. Kynect has had more than 1 million views since Tuesday morning, and more than 3,000 Kentuckians had signed up by yesterday.

You can sign up for health care coverage or learn more here: KYNECT.

You can also find updates on the Kentucky Health News, an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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I am so happy for her and her family! 

I am happy for Ms. Nash and her family and for all of Kentucky that we have good options for health coverage!

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