By Richard Asinof
WASHINGTON – Rhode Island was granted conditional approval to operate its R.I. Health Benefits Exchange, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today, one week after Rhode Island submitted a 1,000-page “Exchange Blueprint.”
As a result, Rhode Island joins with Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Washington and Minnesota as states that have received conditional federal approval to operate a state-based health insurance exchange.
“I applaud Rhode Island’s work to build a new health insurance marketplace,” Sebelius said in a statement. “Rhode Island has made significant progress, and will be ready in 10 months for open enrollment when Rhode Islanders will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality health insurance plans.”
Consumers in every state will be able to buy insurance from qualified health plans directly through these marketplaces and may be eligible for tax credits to help pay for their health insurance, according to Sebelius.