Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Governing Magazine names Carrie Banahan among 2014 Public Officials of the Year

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, November 19, 2014  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian

kynect director to be honored at the 23rd annual awards program next month

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Carrie Banahan, executive director of Kentucky’s Health Benefit Exchange has been selected by Governing Magazine as one of nine recipients of its 2014 Public Officials of the Year award. Banahan will be profiled in the publication’s December issue.

The Governing Public Officials of the Year awards have been presented annually since 1994 to recognize excellence in state and local government. Governing Magazine chose to honor Banahan, a 32-year veteran state employee, for her tireless work overseeing the creation, development and promotion of kynect, Kentucky’s health benefit exchange.

“Lots of things had to go right before Kentucky became the nation’s gold standard for health care implementation, and the first thing we did right was to name Carrie Banahan as kynect’s executive director,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “Carrie not only had the perfect mix of experience and technical know-how to direct kynect, she had the passion for the job. She is personally invested in helping Kentuckians find health insurance. I am grateful for her work, and so are more than half a million newly insured Kentuckians.”

Over her more than three decades of public service, Banahan has served as deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Insurance, deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services and executive director of the Office of Health Policy within the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

“Carrie was truly the perfect person for this job. It is as if her whole career has been training her for this very opportunity,” said CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. “We are so fortunate to have someone with her wealth of knowledge and expertise who was ready to immediately get to work on day one. She is certainly deserving of this prestigious honor.”

Kentucky was hailed as a national leader last year when more than 521,000 Kentuckians enrolled in health care coverage through kynect. Three out of every four enrollees reported that they had no health insurance prior to signing up through kynect. A Gallup poll this summer reported that thanks to kynect, Kentucky had the second-highest reduction of uninsured people in the country, falling from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 11.9 percent midway through 2014.

Public Officials of the Year are selected from nominations submitted by readers, experts in the public and private sectors and the Governing editorial team. Among the qualities recognized are leadership, courage, innovation, creativity and good management.

The Governing 2014 Public Officials of the Year will be honored on Dec. 4, 2014 at a dinner in Washington, D.C.

Banahan’s Governing profile can be seen here: