Welcome to the July 9 Monday Business Briefing, your business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

Kentucky HEALTH: Bye-bye premiums, hello copays

The halting of Kentucky HEALTH gives people who would have been affected by the Section 1115 Medicaid waiver a break from premiums but not copays.

A Q&A on the state’s Kentucky HEALTH website last week advised recipients to ignore premium notices and spelled out a long list of copayments for various services, ranging from $1 for generic drugs and $3 for an office visit to $50 for inpatient hospital admission.

In the past, managed care organizations (MCOs) had been allowed to waive copayments, but that is no longer being permitted, said Doug Hogan, a spokesman for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

“A copayment is an amount you are required to pay as your share of the cost for a medical service like a visit to a doctor or a prescription,” the Q&A notes. “The requirement to make copayments was a change that was separate from Kentucky HEALTH. As of July 1, 2018, all MCOs will charge copayments for some services.”

A disclaimer noted that “exemptions may apply but are not limited to: foster children, preventive services, pregnant women, terminally ill and hospice care, emergency services, and some family planning services.”

The Q&A was published in response to a judge’s decision June 29 that halted the start of the Kentucky HEALTH program in response to a court challenge from more than a dozen Medicaid recipients. The program, which will now receive further review from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was to include new requirements, including a work or “community engagement” component.

The state has not explained how people who sent in premium payments will be able to get their money back. But the Kentucky HEALTH website notes that information on refunds will be coming soon. —Darla Carter

Texas Roadhouse, Papa John’s still getting high marks from customers

Papa John’s continues to rank highly among customers. | Photo by Ildar Sagdejev

This may come as a surprise, but customers think highly of Papa John’s compared to other fast-food restaurants.

Despite Papa John’s founder John Schnatter’s dispute with the NFL and declining same-store sales during the first quarter, people surveyed who bought food from the chain were generally pleased with the accuracy of their order, the employees, the food quality and speediness, among other factors, according to the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index restaurant report.

“They are evaluating the pizza,” said David VanAmburg, ACSI’s managing director. “We’re not talking about the image of these companies. We are not talking about Papa John’s politics.”

That is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the case of Taco Bell, which scored 74 out of 100 points, placing it second to last in terms of customer satisfaction among fast-food restaurants ahead of McDonald’s. Taco Bell’s parent company Yum Brands has touted the fast-food chain as a huge success story, and sales at the chain have continued to rise; still, it ranks below its sister chains KFC and Pizza Hut, as well as Papa John’s.

This year, Papa John’s scored an 80 out of 100, two points lower than it scored the prior year, showing that customer satisfaction is slipping. Meanwhile, competitor Pizza Hut’s score jumped 5 percent in 2018, tying Papa John’s at 80 points, which can seemingly be attributed to Yum Brands’ $130 investment in the chain. KFC scored 77 points.

The ACSI restaurant report, which comes out each summer, looks solely at the customer experience in stores, online and with the food.

Taco Bell is “attention-grabbing, but are they actually high quality? Are they actually good?” VanAmburg said.

He noted that low quality doesn’t always deter customers, adding that his wife will occasionally stop at McDonald’s for a Big Mac, fries and chocolate shake.

Customers “are drawn enough to it because it is familiar to them,” and the price point is good, VanAmburg said. “Sometimes, we are very discerning; sometimes, we say. ‘It’s good enough.’ ”

In the case of Louisville-based steakhouse chain Texas Roadhouse, the ACSI restaurant report ratings coincide with positive sales and a positive overall brand image.

Texas Roadhouse, which scored 83 out of 100 points, continues to rank at the top among the dozen of named full-service restaurants that ACSI tracks, beating out brands like Cracker Barrel, LongHorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster.

“They’ve been there since we started measuring, head and shoulders above” other full-service restaurants, VanAmburg said. “They are just doing everything right.” —Caitlin Bowling

Music, film top Kickstarter projects in Louisville

Tyler Deeb designed and sold these cards via a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. | Courtesy of Kickstarter

The majority of projects listed by Louisvillians on Kickstarter relate to music, film/video and publishing, according to the data journalism site Polygraph.

Of the 176 Louisville projects reviewed, 27 percent are music-related; 17 percent involve film or video, and 13 percent fall under the category of publishing.

Polygraph broke down more than 88,000 listings on the crowdfunding website into 15 categories and separated them by city. The data showed that among U.S. cities, the top three categories of projects seeking funding are music, film/video and publishing, which account for 24 percent, 19 percent and 8.7 percent of projects, respectively.

There are five categories where Louisville has percentages higher than the national average: music, publishing, food, technology and crafts, according to Polygraph, which says the data provides insight into creative communities nationwide.

“Pretty much all existing attempts to map creative communities use census and jobs data. But creative efforts are often side-hustles,” the article states. “They’re garage/basement/cottage industries that will not appear in a census.”

Polygraph also looked at the most popular projects based on the number of backers. In Louisville, the Kickstarter with the most funders — 4,022 — is Tyler Deeb’s playing cards from 2012, a project that helped him launch his company Misc. Goods Co., which recently started a new Kickstarter for a natural deodorant. The project has already exceeded its funding goal. —Caitlin Bowling

Amazon donates $10,000 to STEM education in Bullitt County

Bullitt County students will have more tools in their library’s STEM and STEAM programs thanks to a $10,000 donation from the retail giant Amazon.

The online retailer is providing science and tech-related equipment and toys to the Bullitt County Library for its Digital Tech and Makerspace Lab programs, which will help students in the Bullitt County School District “develop real-world skills” and boost STEM education outside of a classroom, according to a news release from Amazon.

“We believe it’s meaningful, impactful and important to give back to local communities where our associates live and work,” Matt Harney, general manager at one of Amazon’s Shepherdsville fulfillment centers, said in an emailed statement to Insider Louisville.

Virtual reality Oculus Go headsets, multiple LEGO sets and a Cubelets classroom will all be donated, the release said.

The science and tech-focused programs and clubs at the library give area students hands-on opportunities to “fuel creativity and foster a passion for learning and technology,” the library’s public relations coordinator Tracy Weikel said in an emailed statement.

“By engaging young minds in STEAM activities beyond the classroom, our goal is to support the schools’ efforts in that area and to help build a community that actively values these critical building blocks of education,” Weikel said. —Olivia Krauth

Masonic Homes rebrands as Masonic Communities Kentucky

Following the celebration of its 150th year in 2017 and ahead of the opening of two new $100 million facilities this year, Masonic Homes of Kentucky has renamed itself Masonic Communities Kentucky and adopted a new logo.

The mission of the organization — to provide care for the aging and children — will remain the same.

“We wanted our brand to reflect the progressive, modern organization that we are today, and still honor the Masonic tradition that has served our residents so well for so long,” Gary Marsh, the organization’s president and chief executive, said in a news release. “We continue to grow and expand and lead the way in aging care services and communities.”

Local advertising and public relations agency Bandy Carroll Hellige helped with the rebranding effort, the release stated.

The new logo, the release explained, includes a tree with various-colored leaves symbolizing Masonic Communities multiple facilities, including Sproutlings Pediatric Day Care & Preschool and Miralea Active Lifestyle Community.

The rebranding comes just ahead of the opening of two new Masonic Communities: Meadow Active Lifestyle Community, a 122 independent living apartment-style residences set to open in July and Grove Pointe Assisted Living Community, a group of 48 private apartments with daily personalized assistance for residents. Grove Pointe will open later this summer.

Masonic Communities also recently opened a new full-service clinic at its Louisville campus for residents and employees called Care Clinic. It is staffed by primary care physicians and specialists in podiatry, chiropractic, optometry, audiology, radiology, lab services and behavioral health, the release noted.

This fall, Masonic Communities will expand Sproutlings to 13,000 square feet, adding four new classrooms and a large multipurpose room. The growth will allow Sproutlings to serve an additional 48 children, for a total of 164 enrollees. —Caitlin Bowling

Humana ranked as state’s most valuable brand, KFC second

Humana is Kentucky’s most valuable brand, at $9 billion, up 25 percent from last year, according to Brand Finance, though only two Kentucky companies made the list of 500.

Brand Finance said in a news release that despite challenges in an industry “subject to significant regulatory and technological uncertainty, Humana is implementing a bold brand strategy to create and integrated health care experience, focusing on supporting both patients and the medical professionals that provide treatment.”

Laurence Newell, director of Brand Finance North America, said in the release that Humana’s brand value grew because the company exceeded expectations in the last year.

KFC ranked second in Kentucky, with a brand value of $8 billion, up 31 percent.

Amazon ranked first overall, with a brand value of $150 billion, with Apple and Google rounding out the top three. —Boris Ladwig

In Brief

Delta Dental of Kentucky purchased GAME ON Mouthguards for an undisclosed amount on June 26. The mouthguards have been endorsed by the American Dental Association for their state-of-the-art shock absorbency.

Eric Clark has been named commissioner of the state Department for Community Based Services, within the Cabinet for the Health and Family Services. Clark previously served as the cabinet’s legislative director and chief of staff. Elizabeth Caywood, who recently became acting commissioner, becomes a deputy commissioner.


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