RI health exchange in middle of 'steady build' - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

RI health exchange in middle of 'steady build'

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The director of the new state health insurance exchange says it's on track to begin enrolling Rhode Islanders this fall and should offer patients more choice and affordability in their health care.        

Christine Ferguson says enrollment will open Oct. 1. The exchanges being rolled out in every state as part of the federal health care overhaul are insurance marketplaces designed to help individuals and small businesses purchase coverage.

Rhode Island is one of 18 states building its own exchange. The new health care law requires most individuals to have insurance as of Jan. 1, provides subsidies to help pay for it and penalizes those who don't get it.        

Ferguson says that change in the health system will be "evolutionary'' and that patients should have a larger role in choosing their health care.

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