obamacare

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.

RIPR FILE

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.

RIPR FILE

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.

At a news conference today, President Barack Obama responded to critics of his health care law, the Affordable Care Act, saying his administration is working hard to meet deadlines and launch the law's next features. A nice recap is posted on Kaiser Health News.

A new report from consumer health care advocacy group Families USA crunched the numbers, state by state. They found that almost 83,000 Rhode Islanders will be eligible for something called the "premium tax credit" in 2014. Families USA, by the way, calls itself nonpartisan, although some say the organization is biased because of its clear support for the Affordable Care Act.

Rhode Island health insurers have filed their requests for increases in premium rates next year. Some small businesses and individuals could see some significant hikes.

Small businesses could see their plan rates drop as much as 20 percent or spike as much as 40 percent. But the average Blue Cross increase is expected to be about 15 percent. Tufts asked for about 13 percent.

AS220

AS220, the downtown arts organization, and the Roots Cafe are hosting three public panel discussions about health care in Rhode Island. And one of them features someone you might know from such illustrious places as... this blog! My predecessor here at RIPR, the delightful Megan Hall, is one of the panelists! Events take place at 5:30 pm on April 24, May 1, and May 8 at AS220 Cafe, 115 Empire Street, in Providence.

Details on the first two events:

The federal government is pushing back the launch of an online health insurance marketplace for small businesses that’s part of the Affordable Care Act. But there will be no delay in Rhode Island.

There have been lots of great stories in the last day or so about what President Obama’s reelection means for health care reform under the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare. A few of my favorites are linked below.

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