FILE - In this March 29, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks during a media conference on the coronavirus at the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky.  (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has notified the federal government of his intent to transition back to a state-based health exchange under the Affordable Care Act by 2022, he announced Wednesday.

Most Kentuckians began shopping for private health insurance or signed up for Medicaid on the federal exchange since 2016, when former Gov. Matt Bevin began dismantling Kynect, the state's original health insurance marketplace.

Beshear's father, Gov. Steve Beshear, launched Kynect by executive order in 2013.

The transition back to a state-based health exchange is expected to save between $2.8 million and $3.8 million in the first year and $7.8 million to $8.8 million in subsequent years, Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday. Kentuckians had to pay 3% user fees to shop on the federal exchange, totaling $9.8 million in 2018, he added.

The governor expects the state to spend $5 million to relaunch and upgrade the state's health exchange system and between $1 million and $2 million to operate it.

"If we go back to a state-based exchange, we can also improve efficiencies, and we believe we're going to be able to offer more opportunities to Kentuckians," Beshear said.

"We have an opportunity to be better, to get healthier, to save money and ultimately to provide that basic human right that is health care," he said. "It also allows us greater flexibility and autonomy than the federal exchange where we can extend the annual open enrollment period and offer speical open enrollment periods."

Beshear announced the decision to reopen the state's health exchange during one of his regular COVID-19 news conferences.

On Wednesday, he reported 170 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths linked to the coronavirus. 

Five hundred and eighteen Kentuckians who have tested positive for COVID-19 have died in all, and the state has identified 12,995 cases from 329,710 tests since the outbreak began.

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