Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Dylan Scott writes at TPM that Kentucky, with its deeply conservative congressional delegation, seems like an unlikely place for Obamacare to find success. Instead, Kentucky's online health insurance exchange has proven to be one of the best, and shows that the marketplace concept can work in practice. Kentucky routinely ranks toward the bottom in overall health, and better health coverage is one step toward reversing that norm. It started with the commitment to build the state's own website rather than default to the federal version. On July 17, 2012, a few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear created the exchange via executive order, over the objections of a Republican-controlled state legislature, which sought other means — including an effort to prevent the exchange from finding office space — to block the site's creation. ... Testing was undertaken throughout every step of the process, says Carrie Banahan, kynect's executive director, and it was crucial because it allowed state officials to identify problems early in the process. ... From a design standpoint, Kentucky made the conscious choice to stick to the basics, rather than seeking to blow users away with a state-of-the-art consumer interface. It 'doesn't have all the bells and whistles that other states tried to incorporate,' says Jennifer Tolbert. 'It's very straightforward in allowing consumers to browse plans without first creating an account.' A big part of that was knowing their demographics: A simpler site would make it easer to access for people without broadband Internet access, and the content was written at a sixth-grade reading level so it would be as easy to understand as possible."
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