yonts a 300KENTUCKY (8/10/14) — State officials believe there could be around $12 million in state tobacco settlement funds left in Kentucky Access, a state health insurance 'high risk' pool phased out in 2013 with implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.

The balance in tobacco funds won’t be spent by Kentucky Access but will instead be handled as “a necessary government expense” as required by the Kentucky General Assembly, state Cabinet for Health and Family Services Office of Policy and Budget Executive Director Beth Jurek told the state legislative Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee last Wednesday.

“So those dollars will be there when the General Assembly comes back, and the General Assembly will appropriate those as it deems necessary,” Jurek said, adding that she is not sure about the exact amount remaining but believes it to be around $12 million.

Jurek told committee Co-Chair Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, that she would confirm the amount and report back to committee staff with that information.

Kentucky Access—a 13-year program of the Kentucky Health Care Improvement Authority—was funded by state tobacco settlement dollars, premiums, assessments on insurers, and some federal grant money. It provided coverage to over 18,000 individuals who “found it difficult to obtain coverage in the individual market,” according to the Kentucky Health Benefit and Health Information Exchange Executive Director Carrie Banahan.

The program became obsolete as of Jan. 1, 2014 when the ACA prohibited insurers from denying individual coverage based on their health care status, she said. The last day of coverage for Kentucky Access was Dec. 31, 2013, Banahan added, with many of those who had been served by Kentucky Access going on to obtain coverage through kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange.

Kentucky Access operations, including continued payouts to providers, are to end early next year, said Banahan. The program is not expected to receive any state tobacco appropriations in fiscal year 2015 which began on July 1, said Jurek.

Committee Co-chair Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, asked about the status of those who were served by Kentucky Access. Based on the data shared by the Cabinet, Stone said there were 3,546 in the program when it ceased coverage last year and 2,584 have reportedly found coverage elsewhere, leaving around 1,000 individuals in the balance. Stone asked Banahan and Jurek where those 1,000 individuals ended up.

“What about those 1,000? Is that normal attrition—folks gone into Medicare—or are some of those folks still out there looking?” he asked.

Banahan said the state believes those individuals purchased insurance outside of kynect or qualified for Medicare. “Probably quite a few of those folks…purchased their insurance outside the exchange,” she said.

Fiscally-speaking, Jurek told the committee that Kentucky Access was well managed. The program served around 4,000 individuals on average at “any given time” over its 13 year lifespan, she said, and only used 6 percent of its budget on administration. Jurek said the program also “has always received clean audits” from the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts.

This is a sampling of what happened in Frankfort last week; I’ll share more next week. Until then, enjoy the mid August weather and I hope those who are going back to school have a great start to the new year.

Please share your ideas with me by e-mailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also send me a letter addressed to: Rep. Brent Yonts, Capitol Annex, Rm. 366 A, 702 Capitol Ave., Frankfort Ky. 40601.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Brent Yonts

Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Senior Award Programs Planned

OWENSBORO, Ky. (4/20/15) — Apollo, Beacon Central and Daviess County high schools are hosting Senior Award programs to… Read More

Tru Blue BBQ Wins Earlington Downtown Showdown BBQ

Dignitaries, hometown folks and pro-athletes joined to celebrate the first annual Downtown Showdown BBQ Contest on… Read More
1 DOW 18,034.93
+208.63 (1.17%)    
2 S&P 2,100.40
+19.22 (0.92%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,994.60
+62.79 (1.27%)    

Most Read This Week

April 17, 2015 8952

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 13, 2015 6332

Three Juveniles, Adult Accused of Vandalizing…

by Deputy Will Coursey
April 14, 2015 5482

Several Juveniles Charged in Connection with Fight

by SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 5254

Man Charged with Attempting to Coerce Minor for…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 16, 2015 3537

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 16,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 8952

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 02, 2015 8569

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

April 20, 2015 3385

Nortonville Woman Charged with Meth Possession at…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 19, 2015 2399

ATV Ride, Cookout Raises Funds for Shanice Bean…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 20, 2015 1504

Madisonville Man Charged with Sex Abuse of Two…

by SurfKY News
April 20, 2015 1248

Traffic Stop Results in DUI, Drug Possession,…

by SurfKY News
April 19, 2015 1228

Tru Blue BBQ Wins Earlington Downtown Showdown BBQ

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 20, 2015 978

Pick Greenville's 'Saturdays on the Square' Free…

by Beth Newman
April 18, 2015 967

Home, Garden Show Concludes Today at Ballard…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 19, 2015 860

Children Thrilled with Superhero Pancake Breakfast

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 19, 2015 826

Gov. Beshear Orders Flags to Half-Staff on April…

by Office of the Governor
April 19, 2015 680

KET Documentary Follows UK Doctor's Work Helping…

by Elizabeth Adams