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Health care and handshakes

It’s been a busy couple of week’s leading up to and in the aftermath of Ham Days.

Now that I’ve had a little time to catch my breath, I’m hoping some of you will help me.

Kynect.ky.gov is live, and 174,442 unique visitors had gone to the website as of Oct. 7, according to the Governor’s Office.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that at least a few of those unique visitors are from Marion County. I’d like to hear from you about your experiences with the Kentucky’s health benefits exchange.

Leading up to its unveiling, I heard multiple people describe the exchange as being like Travelosity.com, only instead of shopping for vacation deals, visitors would be comparing health insurance plans.

If you’ve been to the exchange, here’s what I’d like to know:

 

1. Why were you going to the exchange? (Do you not have insurance? Do you have insurance, but just wanted to see what other options are available? Some other reason?)

2. Were you able to connect to the website? (Particularly on Oct. 1, I saw multiple reports that the traffic was so high that it created problems.)

3. If you got on, what did you find?

4. Overall, were you pleased, disappointed, or did you feel some other way after visiting the site?

If you’d like to share your experience, please call me at (270) 692-6026 or send an email to slega@lebanonenterprise.com.

I went to kynect.ky.gov last week just to take a look at it. It took a few tries before I got through to the page I was trying to reach. I did not create an account, but I did use the calculator tool to estimate what my premiums would be if I did try to sign up for insurance through kynect.

Here’s the link to the calculator, by the way: https://kyenroll.ky.gov/PreScreening/IndividualCalculator.

Based on my estimated 2014 income, my age, my residence in Marion County and a single-person policy, the calculator projected that my premium would be around $256 per month. The calculator projected that I might qualify for an 8 percent subsidy, which would reduce my premium to $235 per month.

Based on this, my premium payments would be around $85 more each month than what is taken out of my paycheck. (I do not know how much my employer contributes toward my premiums, but I believe it’s a significant amount and quite likely more than my own contribution.)

Now, those results didn’t surprise me because I did not expect to find a better deal on the health exchange than what I’m getting through my employer.

Keep in mind that the exchange calculator does not tell me what the deductible would be, nor do I know what level of plan (bronze, silver, gold or platinum) the calculator uses to estimate my premium through kynect. In order to get that information, I suspect I would need to create an account.

Turning our attention to high school sports, or more specifically, what happens after high school sporting events.

Tuesday, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association issued a commissioner’s directive that initially caused some confusion. Many people interpreted the directive as a ban postgame handshakes between opposing teams.

After statewide publicity (and apparently some attention from ESPN), the KHSAA has updated the web page with the directive, which you can find here: http://khsaa.org/10082013-commissioners-directive-on-postgame-activity/.

To be clearer, the update reads “THERE IS NO BAN OR PROHIBITION ON POSTGAME HANDSHAKES.” (The all-caps are from the KHSAA.)

The directive reads that “more than two dozen” incidents have occurred during postgame handshakes in the last three years, including three this fall after football, soccer and volleyball contests.

Using some really rough math, I figured there has been a problem less than a fraction of 1 percent of the time — based on the number of sports, numbers of teams and number of games played each year.

The directive appears to be the KHSAA’s way of saying the organization is not liable if something does happen in the handshake line. Specifically, game officials are not responsible for overseeing the postgame handshakes.

However, if something does happen, the KHSAA also stated that individuals involved in those incidents could lead to penalties against those individuals and their schools.

Growing up I played football and basketball for my grade school. I played Little League baseball, and I played tennis my senior year in high school. (Why does that seem like it was so long ago?)

Like most teams, sometimes my teams won and sometime they lost. I wasn’t always happy after a loss, but I can’t recall any incidents in those games. Likewise, I don’t remember hearing about or witnessing incidents after games when my brother and sister played sports.

If there had been a problem and worse if we had been involved, I don’t think any of us would have wanted to face our parents afterwards. We knew if we misbehaved, we would be punished for it.

I have to think a lot of you who played sports growing up had similar experiences.

With that in mind, the KHSAA statement doesn’t appear to be a change in policy as much as it is a legalistic “we’re not liable if something happens” kind of a statement.

Regardless of the KHSAA’s intent, the statement has added tension (at least temporarily) to what was previously understood as a demonstration of sportsmanship after a contest.

My hope is that teams will continue this practice without giving it a second thought.

And if something does happen, I hope that coaches and parents deal with the athletes involved appropriately.