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How should RI’s health insurance exchange work?

March 31, 2011

Lawmakers chatted yesterday about a bill to create a “public corporation” charged with designing the state’s health insurance exchange- a marketplace for buying health insurance.

A few amendments to the bill add a little more information on the exchange-

1. Plans that offer stand alone dental insurance would be allowed in the exchange

2.  Residents cannot use state/federal money to purchase plans that pay for induced abortions (except in the case of concerns about the health of the mother, rape, or incest.) So no subsidies can go towards purchasing these plans.

BUT, individuals can buy an optional rider which covers abortions as long as its paid for with their OWN money.

There’s still so much we don’t know about the state’s health insurance exchange and we won’t know until this bill is passed (the hearing testimony was unanimously supportive)  and the “public corporation” starts to do its work.

In the meantime, check out this report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which takes a look at what states can learn from the health insurance exchanges that already exist in Massachusetts and Utah.

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