By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
A new website called KyLoop has launched to provide an online connection space for community professionals who work in outreach and enrollment through Kynect, the state’s health insurance website that also provides help with food, cash and childcare assistance and employee child care assistance partnerships.
The aim is to help more consumers enroll in health coverage and other public benefits that are offered on Kynect. It was developed by Kentucky Voices for Health, which advocates for health benefits.
The site not only provides a centralized hub of resources, but also offers an interactive space for its members to ask questions and share experiences.
KVH Outreach and Enrollment Director Priscilla Easterling said their ongoing “ThriveKY Roadshows” across the state, which provide updates on state and federal policies that impact health, have revealed just how diffiicult it can be for some people to find resources.
Easterling said the website’s two main features have been designed to help combat this.
One is a resource repository that has a curated list of resources and an option for its members to suggest and share resources that have worked for them.
“We want this to be as reciprocal as possible . . . so we also have an option for people to suggest resources,” Easterling said. “If there’s something like a resource in their community that they use, that’s really helpful in their work, they can suggest that to us and then we will also post that as well, so that everyone is sort of sharing their collective knowledge and also learning from each other.”
The other feature is a forum that allows the members to “share information, ask questions, report problems, report best practices and just share . . . personal experiences,” Easterling said.
The forum will be searchable, and connected to team of subject-matter experts from KVH’s partner organizations who can answer questions that come up on the forum, she said: “If you ask a question and you get an answer, that post stays active for other people to search and find later.”
Easterling also noted that the website can help policy advocacy organizations track and report the problems that people report.
Membership in the program is limited and the siteg will, not be open to journalists or state officials, so “everyone feels safe and comfortable sharing their experiences and asking questions,” Easterling said.
“But also, we want to be able to offer that sort of follow-up, so if . . . people report technical barriers, or enrollment barriers, or just things that we’re not necessarily aware of, we can still follow up with people and take that information directly to the state, and let them know what’s going on and hopefully we can address those issues.”
Easterling said the federal healthcare.gov site had a similar program to deal with technical issues when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act rolled out. It has been disbanded, but Massachusetts and Illinois have similar programs and have helped with the Kentucky project, she said.
KVH has three more ThriveKY Roadshows this year. The next one will be held Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky offices at 1640 Lyndon Farm Ct. in Louisville. Meetings will also be held Oct. 17 in Lexington and Nov. 28 in Paducah. You can register for the meetings online.