Kentucky State Government, Personnel Cabinet
Job Title: Commissioner, Department of Employee Insurance
Member of KHC since: 2018
KHC Committee Participation: Employer Strategic Workgroup, KY Performance Measurement Alignment Committee (PMAC)
As Commissioner of the Department of Employee Insurance, Jenny manages the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan. With 265,000 members, it’s the largest self-insured health plan in the Commonwealth. She is also responsible for optional employer sponsored Group Life, Dental, and Vision Insurance programs.
What do you see as the biggest threat to our community’s health? How do you feel it needs to be addressed?
Lack of understanding and engagement. The healthcare industry, how it works, how to choose the best plan that works for you, how to select the right provider, all of these can be so overwhelming for the average person. How often have we heard people even in the industry say “I’m not sure what to do” related to their own coverage. We have to continue to determine how best to communicate and educate people. What tools can we provide so people want and feel enabled to use the services available to them.
Improving health is one of the three main priorities of the Triple Aim. What are the best strategies for improving health in our community?
The Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan covers 6% to 7% of the Commonwealth’s population. Kentucky’s issues, are our issues. We have to meet people where they are when we can. We partner with multiple medical, pharmacy, and wellness administrators to ensure we help people struggling with diabetes, issues, hypertension, obesity, and behavioral health issues by providing free to low-cost services in these and other areas.
Why do you think a multi-stakeholder coalition like the KHC is needed in the community?
Solving the healthcare crisis in our State requires multiple stakeholders – not any one group can solve the issues. All of us in the industry – payors, providers, members, and community organizations – all have a role to play as we all work to improve the health status of Kentuckians.
Why do you and your organization belong to the KHC? What do you find most valuable as a member?
I see a two-fold benefit to the State Personnel Cabinet belonging to KHC. First, it’s important for our health plan leadership to be involved in multi-stakeholder discussions to fully understand and take action to improve the population health of Kentuckians. Secondly, it’s critical as a large employer and self-insured plan to share our experiences, our program successes, and our challenges.
What is your favorite quote?
I really have so many, but this one always gets me through – “Optimism is a force multiplier” – General Colin Powell
What do you do in your spare time? Provide a fun fact about yourself.
Whenever I can, I head to our small cattle farm in East Tennessee. We have eight cows, one bull, and four calves (expecting eight more calves in late Fall). I’m a true city girl and I’m loving every minute of feeding the cows, running fence, mowing, and doing whatever’s needed. My new form of exercise, meditation, and stress relief.