With a major deadline looming, nearly 300-thousand Kentuckians have signed up for insurance through the state's health benefit exchange.
To avoid a tax penalty next year, people must have purchased insurance by March 31st, or at least be insured for nine months of the year.
Bill Nold, with the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange office, says a major push is underway in the state to get as many people as possible signed up by the end of the month.
"This coming Saturday, we're having what we call Sign Up Saturday in 117 of our 120 counties, primarily at the local libraries. Kynecters will be present there, to help people sign up and to provide information,” Nold said.
Sign Up Saturday events are taking place at libraries in several counties in our listening area, including Marshall, McCracken, Livingston and Fulton. In Calloway County, the event will be at the senior center.
Nold says that of the more than 298-thousand Kentuckians who have signed up for health insurance through "Kynect", nearly 80-percent have done so under the state's expanded Medicaid program. The other 20-percent have signed up through private insurance companies.
Nold also says officials are pleased with the number of young Kentuckians who have signed up through the exchange.
"If you look at our total enrollment, about 48-percent are under the age of 35,” Nold said.
Health exchange operators throughout the nation have been concerned that not enough younger, healthier people would sign up for coverage before the March 31st deadline. Those younger customers are needed to subsidize health care for older and less healthy individuals.