- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 18, 2014
2 new insurers interested in joining kynect

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - At least two new insurance companies say they want to sell policies on Kentucky’s state-run health exchange after more than 421,000 people signed up for health insurance during the first round of open enrollment.

Residents can go to the website, known as kynect, to sign up for the state’s Medicaid program or purchase discounted private health insurance plans, depending on their income. It is part of the federal Affordable Care Act, the health care legislation championed by President Barack Obama that has been fiercely opposed by others, including conservative Republicans, since the day it was passed.

While the federal health insurance exchange had many technical problems, Kentucky’s exchange ran smoothly. Obama even used it as an example in his State of the Union address.

But the options were limited on Kentucky’s exchange, as only two companies sold policies statewide. A third company, Louisville-based Humana, sold policies only in certain areas of Kentucky. One company - Kentucky Health Cooperative - sold 77 percent of the private insurance plans purchased on kynect.

But now Ohio-based CareSource and Florida-based WellCare have filed paperwork with state regulators indicating their interest in selling policies through kynect. Both companies provide Medicaid plans in Kentucky but have not sold on the individual market.

“We’re obviously pleased with additional competition. The market is good for consumers,” said Maggie Woods, director of health and life insurance for the state Department of Insurance.


Mother accused in death of 5-year-old boy in NY

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - A 26-year-old woman who documented her young son’s persistent illness on social media was charged Tuesday with killing him by poisoning him with sodium.

Lacey Spears of Scottsville, Kentucky, was indicted on charges of depraved murder and manslaughter in the death of 5-year-old Garnett-Paul Spears.

Depraved murder is a count often used in cases that suggest extreme recklessness rather than intentional killing. It carries the same maximum sentence, however - 25 years to life.

Spears, who at the time was living in Chestnut Ridge, brought her son to Nyack Hospital in Rockland County on Jan. 17, reporting he was having seizures. On Jan. 19, with no medical explanation, Garnett-Paul’s sodium levels rose to an extremely dangerous level. Spears was sharing her son’s hospital room and prosecutors believe the mother administered sodium through the boy’s stomach tube.

The boy was transferred to the Westchester Medical Center. The Westchester district attorney says doctors there suspected Spears was harming her son and called New York state children’s services, which launched an investigation.

Spears pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Tuesday and was being held without bail. A call to her lawyer, David Sachs, was not immediately returned.

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