Chart: How insurance will work in RI once Obamacare starts

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)

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