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By Richard Asinof
By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Details are beginning to emerge about the R.I. Health Benefits Exchange public information and outreach plans in advance of a news conference scheduled for Monday, July 15, at 70 Royal Little Drive, the location of the new call center.
Connextions, a customer service and health IT firm based in Orlando, Fla., has been awarded the contract to operate the consumer call center, at a cost of about $7 million through 2014, according to exchange spokesman Ian Lang.
Lang said that the call center would serve as one of a number of ways that consumers and small businesses will be able to interact with the exchange to get information and questions answers. They include a robust website, expected to be fully operational at the end of this month, as well as in-person navigators in the community.
“The firm we hired will be located in Rhode Island, with a physical presence, with jobs for Rhode Islanders,” Lang told the Providence Business News. The exchange will have a presence in the call center office, he continued. “This has to be something that is real and genuine and about Rhode Island,” Lang said. “The exchange is being designed and implemented by and for Rhode Islanders.”
Monday’s news conference, at which a new name will be announced as well as details about statewide tour that plans to travel to every town and city in Rhode Island, will feature many of the state’s top elected officials, including Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. David Cicilline. Geoffrey Grove, president and CEO of Pilgrim Screw Corporation, will also be speaking.
Lang agreed that many consumers and small businesses are anxiously awaiting specific details about the health insurance plans that will be offered on the exchange.
“Now that OHIC has approved the rates, we’re now in final discussions with insurers about how the information about the plans will be presented,” he said. “We are working to ensure that consumers get access to the information in a manner that’s understandable, that explains things in language that is clear and transparent, and allows them to look at different options in an apples-to-apples comparison.” Lang anticipated that the information on the new rate plans would be available in the next two weeks.
The goal, Lang emphasized, is to make sure that “Rhode Islanders can access accurate information, whether its on the phone, in person, or online.”