Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today that Rhode Island has received conditional approval of its blueprint to operate a state-based health benefits exchange, submitted earlier this month to the federal government. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has conditionally certified that the state will be ready to begin enrolling Rhode Islanders in October 2013 for coverage effective January 1, 2014. The approval affirms that Rhode Island continues to meet ongoing federal requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
"This conditional certification signifies that we are on schedule to build and operate the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange in 2014, enabling the state to expand access to quality, affordable health care to more families and small businesses than ever before," said Governor Chafee. "I am very pleased to say that Rhode Island is among only a handful of states to reach this important milestone in state-based exchange development."
The state has been a national leader in implementing the Affordable Care Act, receiving more than $64M in federal dollars to plan and establish the exchange. The health benefits exchange is a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.
"Rhode Islanders deserve a robust exchange that will be a key policy lever in healthcare delivery system improvement and cost containment," said Lt. Governor Roberts, Chair of the Rhode Island Healthcare Reform Commission. "This conditional approval validates the hard work of our stakeholders and the long hours they have invested as volunteers to help us improve the healthcare system for all Rhode Islanders."
Health Benefits Exchange Director Christine Ferguson concluded, "We are now a step closer to reaching the State's goals to expand access to affordable health care, to help ensure Rhode Island families can get healthy and remain healthy, and to enable our business community to be more competitive. I look forward to continuing this important work, with our sights set on October 2013."
About the RI Health Benefits Exchange:
The Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange will serve as a robust resource for Rhode Islanders and Rhode Island businesses to learn about and easily compare the quality and affordability of their health insurance options, enroll in coverage and, if eligible, access subsidies for coverage. More information about the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange is available at www.governor.ri.gov