PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Here are some fast facts about how buying health insurance will change in Rhode Island as President Barack Obama’s health overhaul takes effect. The Affordable Care Act requires every state to have a new health insurance marketplace called an exchange — an online shopping center for small businesses and people who don’t get coverage from their employer.
The first exchanges will start operating later this year.
Q: How many people are uninsured in Rhode Island, and how many are projected to get insurance under the exchange?
A: About 126,000 Rhode Islanders are uninsured in a population of just over 1 million. An estimated 80,000 individuals will be eligible to purchase individual insurance coverage through the exchange in 2014. Some coverage will be subsidized; some will not.
Q: How many small businesses are likely to take advantage of insurance offered through the state exchange?
A: It’s not yet certain what percentage of businesses will receive coverage through the exchange. But about 110,000 employees are expected to get coverage in the state’s small group market in 2014.
Q: How is the exchange going to be set up, and which agency will be responsible for overseeing it?
A: Gov. Lincoln Chafee created the exchange by executive order in 2011 as an agency within his office.
Q: How far along is the state in setting up an exchange? Will it be ready to start enrolling people by the October deadline?
A: The exchange is expected to be ready to enroll Rhode Islanders beginning Oct. 1.
Q: How much money has the state gotten so far from the federal government to do the initial work in setting up an exchange?
A: The state has received $74 million in federal exchange funding.
Q: How will residents access the exchange and what kind of customer support will be offered?
A: Residents and businesses will be able to access the exchange in multiple ways, including through a web portal and at a contact center staffed by trained employees. Rhode Islanders will also be able to visit the exchange office to receive in-person customer service.
— Source: Governor’s office