Governor names board to guide creation of insurance exchange

Gov. Steve Beshear today appointed the board to make recommendations for the state health-insurance marketplace required by federal health reform.

The Health Benefit Exchange Advisory Board, originally planned to include 11 members, was expanded to 19. Beshear explained in a news release, “We need the insight and experience of a variety of Kentuckians to ensure that the exchange not only meets the requirements of the law, but also meets the needs of Kentuckians who will be looking for affordable health insurance.”

“The Health Benefit Exchange will facilitate the purchase and sale of health plans in the individual market; assist small employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in health plans; provide one-stop shopping by helping individuals enroll in health plans Medicaid and KCHIP; enable individuals to receive premium tax credits and premium subsidies; and qualify small businesses for tax credits,” the release said.

Three public officials will serve as ex-officio representatives, including Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark, whom Beshear named chair of the board. The other ex-officio members are Medicaid Commissioner Lawrence Kissner and Stephen R. Hall, commissioner of the Department for Behavioral Health and Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. The other appointees represent various private interests and “will serve for staggered term limits of two or three years as designated by the governor, to ensure the board maintains an experienced membership,” the release said.

Consumer advocates or representatives are represented by:
• David Allgood of Louisville, director of advocacy at the Center for Accessible Living.
• Andrea Bennett of Louisville, deputy director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.
• Tihisha Rawlins of Louisville, associate state director of AARP.

Providers based in health-care facilities are represented by:
• Ruth Brinkley of Louisville, president of KentuckyOne Health.
• Julie Paxton of Prestonsburg, an attorney for Mountain Comprehensive Care Center.
• Ed Erway of Lexington, chief revenue officer at 
University of Kentucky Healthcare.
• Donna Ghobadi of Lexington, vice president of revenue cycle at Central Baptist Hospital.
Providers not based in health-care facilities are represented by:
• Connie Hauser of Barbourville, a physical therapist.
• John Thompson of Lexington, a dentist.
• Dr. Michael Huang of Lexington, a general internal medicine physician at Kentucky Clinic South, part of UK Healthcare.

Insurers are represented by:
• Deborah Moessner of Louisville, president and general manager at Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield.
• Jeff Bringardner of Louisville, president of Humana Inc. Kentucky.
• Carl Felix of Frankfort, chief operating officer at Bluegrass Family Health.

Other representatives are:
• Marcus Woodward of Ashland, a Democratic activist and health-insurance broker, representing insurance agents.
• Gabriela Alcalde of Louisville, a health policy officer at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, representing individual purchasers of health benefit plans.
• Joe Ellis of Benton, an optometrist, representing small employers.

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