obamacare

The director of Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange says the state is all ready for tomorrow’s rollout of HealthSource RI; the Rhode Island version of Obamacare.  Officials running the online exchange expect business to be relatively slow the first month.

HealthSource RI director Christy Ferguson says Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states in the country ready to enroll people in Obamacare.  Starting Tuesday, the HealthSource call center and online marketplace will be able to enroll people in health insurance policies, take premiums and answer questions.

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Rhode Island’s experiment in crafting a 21st Century health care marketplace begins tomorrow.  Rhode Island Public Radio's political analyst Scott MacKay on why we should be rooting for success.

From the Williamette Valley to the Pawtuxet Valley, the debate over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, rages among politicians and the media. Some congressional Tea Party conservatives are even threatening to shut down the federal government if Obamacare goes forward.

file / RIPR

The federal government is edging closer to a government shutdown. President Barack Obama said he'll veto legislation coming out of the House that delays much of the Affordable Care Act for a year.  Over in the Democratic-run Senate, it has passed legislation preventing the shutdown and leaving Obamacare untouched. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with Rhode Island’s senior senator Jack Reed to talk about what could be done to avoid a shutdown.

Reed Warns Against Government Shutdown

Sep 27, 2013
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Senator Jack Reed took to the Senate floor Thursday to make an impassioned speech against shutting down the government. That’s a strategy backed by  House Republicans as a way of defunding Obamacare.  Rhode Island’s senior senator called a potential shutdown “unfortunate and inappropriate.”

This week marked the one-year point until Rhode Island's decisive 2014 primary. Welcome back to my Friday column. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to stay posted via Twitter. Let's head in.

Starting October 1st, Rhode Islanders can start signing up for health insurance through an online marketplace that’s a cornerstone of what’s known as Obamacare. The marketplace will offer a number of insurance plans for individuals, families and employers.  It is being run by the state, and on Tuesday the state released how much the plans will cost.

The state-run health insurance exchange has released rates on the 28 plans it will offer residents and small businesses.

The exchange, known as HealthSource RI, offers a dozen plans to individuals and families. Three insurers are providing the coverage that range in price depending on a person’s age and whether they want a “gold” “silver” or “bronze” plan. The assumption is that younger people are healthier so if a 21-year-old and a 45-year-old want the same “gold” plan, the 45-year-old is going to pay $126 more in monthly premiums.

HealthSourceRI, the effort to implement Obamacare in Rhode Island, has hired former state Department of Health spokeswoman Dara Chadwick as its director of communications.

According to a statement, Chadwick "will serve as the primary media contact for HealthSourceRI and will play a key role in public outreach and education efforts around the newly-launched marketplace. She will also have a role in shaping policy for the new entity." HealthSourceRI plans to begin open enrollment on October 1.

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The debate over Obamacare rages from Providence to Pasadena. As the state moves closer to launching its health insurance exchange, Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay parses the arguments and traces the law’s Rhode Island roots.

Ask Rhode Island Republican State Chairman Mark Smiley what he thinks of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare and you’ll get a blunt answer:  He says, ``I hate it.’’

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation helped launch Monday an effort to encourage participation in the federal healthcare overhaul known as Obamacare.  Nine community health centers around the state will play a role in the campaign.

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Rhode Island’s community health centers are kicking off a push Monday to educate their patients about the upcoming health insurance exchange. The entire congressional delegation is helping out.

Last year nearly 135,000 Rhode Islanders visited a community health center, and 32 percent of them lacked insurance coverage. Jane Hayward, CEO of the Rhode Island Health Center Association, said that’s why community health centers will play a key role in educating uninsured Rhode Islanders about their options on the state’s new insurance exchange which will be up and running October 1st.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former US Senate candidate Barry Hinckley and Gary Alexander, the controversial Carcieri-era secretary of Rhode Island's Executive Office of Health and Human Services, have launched a new business, Velum Health, that pledges to "drastically reduce health care costs."

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Health Benefits Exchange has a new name, a new logo and is looking to hire dozens of people. 

From here on out, Rhode Island’s Health Benefits Exchange will be known as HealthSource RI, and it’s looking to hire 50 to 75 people to sign folks up for health insurance, starting in October.

UPDATE: HHS unveiled a newly redesigned healthcare.gov today, which lets users learn more about enrolling in health insurance plans through online insurance marketplaces beginning October 1st. I tried it out. The web site leads you through a series of questions and presents you with your likely options for coverage and whatever financial assistance might be available to help you pay for that coverage. It also creates a customized "checklist" to help you prepare for enrollment, which includes a list of documents you'll need to gather.

Rhode Island’s online marketplace for health insurance is taking shape in preparation for October 1st. That's the date the exchange is scheduled to be up and running with a variety of new health plans to choose from.

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