Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) son was enrolled in Medicaid, which was not the goal when the Congressman tried to sign his family up for health insurance using Kentucky’s state-based exchange, Kynect. Paul appeared on ABC‘s “This Week,” during which he explained the difficulties he experienced.
“The other day I actually tried to get my son signed up through the Kentucky exchange, you know, that the Democrats have said is so good. And I have here my son’s Medicaid card,” Paul said. “We didn’t try to get him Medicaid. I’m trying to pay for his insurance. But they automatically enrolled him in Medicaid.”
Prior to his son’s accidental enrollment in Medicaid, Paul says the people running the exchange refused to talk to the family for a month because they doubted his son’s existence. “He had to go down to the welfare office, prove his existence — then the next thing we know, we get a Medicaid card,” Paul said on ABC.
In addition to his son’s issues, Paul has not been able to pay using the website. “I’m trying to pay for insurance and can’t pay for it, and I’m uncertain now whether I’m enrolled in D.C. and/or Kentucky.” He is also unsure if his family is covered. “I keep getting an error code every time I go in. It will not let me edit my policy to try to make sure that my family is covered. … This is an unfolding disaster that I don’t think gets better anytime soon,” he told the hosts of “This Week.”
Paul believes that Kentuckians are not being enrolled in an insurance plan when they use Kynect. Instead, like his son, they “are being automatically enrolled in Medicaid.”
Kentucky’s exchange has been touted as one of the best state-based exchanges. Deloitte built the exchange, which cost $57.69 per person. The website was tested for three months prior to its debut, according to an investigation by Pew. Kynect was seen as having few issues, especially when compared to other exchanges and the federal website HealthCare.gov.
However, it has not been entirely smooth sailing. In December, reports surfaced that state-based exchanges, Kynect included, potentially shared a problem with HealthCare.gov. Like the federal exchange, problems on the back-end of the websites existed. This made it impossible to know whether a person had simply selected a plan or if they actually were covered.
“In general, the situation is the same for the state-run exchanges as it is for the federally facilitated exchanges,” Tony Felts, a spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, told Politico. “As far as the quality of the data that’s coming in, I can’t say that everything has been completely accurate. Nor has everything been completely inaccurate.” It’s too early, he added, to know if the problems have been solved.
Gov. Steve Beshear (D-Ky.) said in a statement that 116,000 Kentuckians had enrolled through Kynect as of December 30, 40 percent of whom are younger than 35. Medicaid enrollees accounted for 84,480 people, and 31,672 had selected a qualified health plan.
“Since open enrollment began on Oct. 1, kynect has enrolled nearly 1,300 Kentuckians in new health coverage each day,” the statement said, and “kynect has been hailed as a national model since its launch for its smooth operation and easy interface for users looking for affordable health coverage.” But Paul would certainly disagree.