First, look at the above chart and compare Kentucky to neighboring states like Ohio, Tennessee, and a few others that used the much-maligned healthcare.gov website to try and sign up residents. As a total, the state's enrollment numbers don't look so special; as a percent of HHS's goal, Kentucky actually falls behind.
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Or pull back to see how Kynect shapes up against the fourteen other states that ran their own exchanges. Collectively, those other states had hit about 66% of their enrollment projections through December 28—but Kentucky had hit about 32% of its projection, beating out only states with struggling exchange websites, like Oregon and Hawaii.
Of course, this grading of Kentucky's progress reflects that the state had very ambitious sign-up goals in front of it. HHS expected that more than 103,000 people would enroll in private coverage through Dec. 28, which was a higher target than in more populous states like Pennsylvania and New York. (When judged against a more moderate target, like enrollment as a share of the eligible population, Kentucky shakes out among the nation's top 10.)
But Kentucky's prominence in ACA coverage, and Beshear's presence at the State of the Union, reflect perception that the state had some secret recipe for exchange success. And on closer look, the perception doesn't quite match what the actual numbers bear out.