The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is one of the biggest things to hit health care in decades. And you might already have started to feel its effects on your own health care - from no-cost preventative services to the ability to keep kids on your health insurance plan longer.
This October, many Rhode Islanders will go from passive recipients of the law's provisions to active participants, when the state's online health insurance marketplace (called the "Health Benefits Exchange") is slated to go online, allowing Rhode Islanders to shop for plans that fit their needs and get connected with state and federal programs to help pay for them.
I sat down with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island's assistant vice president of legal services, Monica Neronha, recently to learn more about how the state's biggest insurer is gearing up to participate in the exchange, what the new plans will look like, and how implementing the ACA could raise rates in the near future (although the exchange's creators say it should help lower rates over time).
Getting ready for the exchange, designing new health plans, getting the technology up and running...it's a huge undertaking, not only for insurers, but for the state, consultants, and the many groups who are providing input. The state and federal government say consumers can get ready for the exchange by learning more about their health care options and jotting down questions you might have when it comes time to enroll.
Meanwhile, here's the Blue Cross perspective: