Rhode Island is applying for a second round of funding to further work on the state Health Benefit Exchange. The application asks for $74.5 million in additional funds for the exchange. Rhode Island is one of several states working to comply with new requirements outlined in federal health care reform legislation. The state expects that their exchange will be operational by 2014.
Health insurance exchanges have been one of numerous points of contention surrounding federal health care reform legislation. According to the requirements, states must create an online marketplace that allows consumers to compare the terms of health insurance policies available in their area. States that do not complete their exchange or refuse to create one will have an exchange created and managed for them at the federal level.
Several states have recently refused or returned federal funding to build their exchanges. Rhode Island was one of the first states to begin work on their exchange. The Governor recently issued an Executive Order which will make the state eligible for up to $75 million in federal funding to implement the exchange.
The Executive Order authorized the creation of the exchange, within the executive branch, under the guidance of an appointed advisory board led by former U.S. Attorney Meg Curran. “Moving forward with the Health Benefit Exchange is an important step in making affordable healthcare a reality in our state,” Governor Chafee said.
The state is expected to learn whether it has been awarded the second round of funding by December 2011.