One of the goals of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was to extend health coverage to uninsured Americans without disrupting the current system of employer-based insurance and safety-net programs. That means Rhode Island will have a patchwork of health coverage provisions starting on Jan. 1, 2014, when the law’s major policies take effect – and what you use will depend on how much you make annually.
Obamacare will largely use two programs – Medicaid, the long-established state-federal health program for the poor, and the new Health Benefits Exchanges, which I wrote about Monday – to offer subsidized plans to most Americans who make less than 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and don’t get coverage at work.
This chart from a recent RIPEC study offers the clearest breakdown of who’ll qualify for what coverage in Rhode Island on Jan. 1:
(“HBE” stands for the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange, which is being created by Obamacare and will offer subsidies for insurance to roughly 83,000 people. “CHIP” is the federal-state Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers uninsured children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid.)
Of course, nobody gets paid in FPL percentages – they get paid in dollars. To help you match the chart’s top row with actual wages, here’s the 2013 federal poverty level standards, also from RIPEC:
• Related: Study: Obamacare to subsidize insurance for 83,000 in RI (June 10)