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FEDERAL GLITCHES 'DEVASTATING' FOR HEALTHSOURCE RI

It has been distressing of late to see the post on this Patch turn into personality fights, rather than constructive conversation. It is my hope you will discuss this in a reasonable manner befitting adults. My opinion is at the end of this post. I will not be discussing it any further, since my opinion is pretty much set in stone on the problems that will arise and are already presenting themselves. I do not wish to discuss whether or not the ACA is legal or not. It is the current law unless it is changed or repealed we must follow it. Now to the information I recently read in the Providence Journal, “Christine C. Ferguson, director of the state’s health benefits exchange” expands upon it below.

Felice J. FreyerFelice J. FreyerProvidence Journal

Journal Medical Writer

ffreyer@providencejournal.com

Published: November 15 2013 11:15

Rhode Island has rejected President Obama’s proposal to allow people to keep health insurance plans that were canceled because of the Affordable Care Act.

Kathleen C. Hittner, the state’s health insurance commissioner, and Christine C. Ferguson, director of the state’s health benefits exchange, ruled Friday that Rhode Island would stay the course and opt out of Mr. Obama’s “fix” for those upset that their policies had been discontinued.

 

http://www.providencejournal.com/news/health/20131115-r.i.-rejects-obama-s-fix-allowing-people-to-keep-canceled-health-insurance-plans.ece

 

Federal glitches 'devastating' for HealthSource RI

Ferguson defends seeking annual budget of $20M

Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - The Obama administration's botched launch of the health law's online marketplaces has created problems for Rhode Island even though the state's own locally built system has been working well, HealthSource RI executive director Christine Ferguson acknowledged Thursday.

"For us what happened at the federal level has been somewhat devastating," Ferguson said during a taping of myRITV's Executive Suite. "If you think about marketing - anytime you have to do marketing or sales, if you've got some huge thing that's affecting your ability to get your message out, it seriously dampens your ability to do it."

"Initially ... I downplayed it," Ferguson said of the impact. "But at this point it's affecting us."

Another concern for Ferguson is the lack of publicity surrounding the law's so-called Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), which is supposed to help employers with up to 50 workers buy affordable plans for their staffs. Rhode Island's SHOP marketplace is rolling out in full for the first year, but the Obama administration has delayed multiple elements of the federal-run version.

"For us small business is the number-one priority," Ferguson said. "So when small businesses hear that and they're hearing from us, 'Come on,' but they're hearing all the national media saying, 'Oh, it's delayed, it's delayed' - that's a really difficult situation. It's been disappointing and it's affected us."

Ferguson said she hopes the General Assembly will agree to expand eligibility for the SHOP marketplace to include employers with up to 100 workers instead of 50. Small businesses can sign up for coverage through HealthSource at whatever point during the year their current coverage is up for renewal, she said.

HealthSource RI processed 4,405 completed applications for insurance between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2, with 3,213 of those enrolling in Medicaid, the government program for lower-income Americans, and 1,192 enrolling in private plans. More up-to-date enrollment data won't be released until next week, but Ferguson said the trend is up.

"It's increasing on a weekly, daily basis," she said. "Given all the stuff that's happening on the federal level, it is still encouraging because we are moving in the right direction - not as fast as I would like, but I'm competitive anyway; it's never going to be fast enough for me."

Individuals have until Dec. 23 to sign up for insurance coverage and have it take effect at the start of the year. Open enrollment for partial-year coverage is scheduled to continue through March 31, "but at this rate it wouldn't surprise me if the federal government changed that, too," Ferguson said.

HealthSource RI is seeking an annual administrative budget of $17 million to $20 million, according to Ferguson - not the widely cited figure of nearly $26 million contained in state budget documents for 2014-15. She said the higher figure includes one-time federal money that won't be used again.

A budget of $17 million to $20 million is "a number that we've put out as a possible range, but the legislature has to act, the governor still hasn't made a decision, so we're in the process of working those things through," Ferguson said. No decision has been made about how to pay for HealthSource’s annual budget once federal money runs out in 2015

 

My opinion on it.

I mostly read the Patch and very seldom comment. This article concerned me a lot.

I am interested in opposing views and whether people are aware of the taxes that will inevitably have to be raised State wide. An annual administrative budget of $17 million to $20 million is already being asked for from the General Assembly. In the first month (Oct 1st to Nov 1st), 1,192 people have signed up in the Rhode Island exchange with the new mandated plans and 3,213 added to the State Medicaid plan. I do not understand why this State will not Honor the fix, our President has now offered for those removed from their plan. I cannot get an answer from any Representatives I have called about it. I find that to be a disservice to those who have lost their current plans. The numbers seem to be extremely low to maintain a viable program in my opinion. The Medicaid additions will obviously require a lot more funding as well. It would appear that the program is well on track to bankrupting the State. I am very concerned with the practice “we downplayed it” as well.  The Government should never keep people in the dark when things go wrong it is unethical. How many people realize that the Federal Money runs out in 2015? After that we the state taxpayers then take over the funding of this.

Joseph
Junior December 06, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Cheer up! I know what will help, why don't you volunteer to serve on Obama's death panel with me and Pops?
Joe S. December 07, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Only people like yourself see the inherent problems in the plan . They say the new people coming in to the system will help cover the cost . Truth is most young people cant afford insurance . Their having a hard time paying student loans . Those with out will pay the penalty . That money goes to Washington . RI. The Sinking Ship
Moe Larry & Curley December 07, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Joe S i will call you Legion, since you are one but many (fake names)

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