The head of Rhode Island's online insurance marketplace says she's encouraged by the amount of interest consumers have shown in signing up for health insurance on the state’s newly launched health exchange.
It’s been up and running since October 1st to help uninsured Rhode Islanders and small businesses get the health coverage most are required to have by January 2014.
Healthsource RI leader Christy Ferguson briefed state senators on how it’s working last night. She says the exchange could help drive down health care costs if plenty of small businesses sign up.
“If that happens, and we are able to convert a large number of businesses, that will drive us to faster, and more provider focused, provider-consumer relationship focused, change in the system. And that’s what’s ultimately is going to help the entire health care system in Rhode Island," said Ferguson.
However, the fate of the exchange’s second year is still a bit uncertain, they may need some state funding to continue said Ferguson.
“We are focused on working with consumers, doctors, hospitals, insurers, employers, to provide better options for getting care, so not just this set of plans, this is the first set of plans, but we’re already in negotiations or starting negotiations with the health plans for next year’s plans," said Ferguson.
Consumers can choose from 28 different plans right now, some of which are geared toward individuals and some of which are for small businesses.
Ferguson said Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states offering small employers the option to let employees pick a plan.
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