- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky has ended an advertising campaign for the state health insurance website and outreach known as kynect.

Gov. Matt Bevin has pledged to shut down the state-run site, saying Kentuckians can shop for insurance on the federal website.

The contract with Louisville ad agency Doe Anderson was not renewed after expiring Nov. 30, The Courier-Journal reported (https://cjky.it/1J6E0xa). A Bevin spokeswoman says the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, sought to extend the contract, but it was rejected by the state Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto said the administration does not know why the finance cabinet rejected the extension “but there does not appear to be any legal basis to continue the contract.”

The campaign was funded with federal money. Pamela Trautner, a spokeswoman for the state finance cabinet, was unable to provide further information Wednesday as to why the contract extension was rejected.

The kynect brand was created by Doe-Anderson to introduce Kentucky’s version of the Affordable Care Act. The campaign included broadcast advertising, billboards, bus shelter ads, brochures and community outreach events to inform the public about health coverage.

During kynect’s first two years, Kentucky achieved the sharpest decline in the nation in its rate of residents with no health coverage, dropping from 20 to 9 percent.

Sheila Schuster, a public health advocate, said she was disappointed to learn the kynect campaign has been canceled midway through the current health insurance enrollment period, which ends Jan. 31.

“It really makes no sense,” said Schuster, chairwoman of Kentucky Voices for Health, a coalition of health advocacy groups. “Why would the state not want people to know they have this option?”


Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

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