RI creating health care exchange

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The national health care law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court has inspired activism both for and against, and will be much debated in the upcoming presidential election.

But Rhode Island had already committed to the first step in the reform, creating a health care exchange. Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts said she thinks consumers will benefit.

“One of the best things that the exchange is going to do for us is help us as we make that purchase — which is a big purchase — that you understand what your coverage really is,” Roberts said Friday on a taping of “10 News Conference.”

The lieutenant governor said the exchange will look like Massachusetts’ health connector, where insurance options are graded and displayed side-by-side on a website.

“You’re going to be looking at something on the web that’s going to give a lot more, ‘OK, here are your choices.’ If you have a deductible out-of-pocket, then here is your premium. It will be clearer what your coverage means financially,” Roberts said.

But it will also give the state leverage to change what is covered and to try to create savings.

“Once people start getting the right care in the right place at the right time, based around their needs much more than now, you’re going to see some of those costs go down,” said Christine Ferguson, the newly-named director of the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange.

Rhode Island’s exchange will start accepting enrollments in October 2013.

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