WASHINGTON - This fall, new insurance markets called exchanges will open in each state and the District of Columbia. A major component of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, exchanges are online markets where consumers can choose between private health plans similar to what workers at large corporations already get. The government will help many middle-class households pay their premiums. Here are some facts about the district's exchange.
Q: How many people are uninsured in the district, and how many of those are projected to get insurance under the exchange?
A: There are 42,000 uninsured, about 7 percent of the population. Officials with the exchange say their goal is to insure them all.
Q: How many people in the district are currently served by Medicaid, and will the district be expanding Medicaid coverage?
A: There are 220,000 district residents served by Medicaid. The district has already expanded coverage to people at 200 percent of the federal poverty level _ a higher threshold than what's included in the health overhaul _ and there are no plans for further expansion.
Q: How is the exchange going to be set up, and which agency will be responsible for overseeing it?
A: The exchange is set up as a quasi-governmental agency, operated outside district government but supported by several city agencies, including the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services. The exchange reports to an independent board.
Q: How far along is the district in setting up its exchange, and will it be ready to start enrolling people by the Oct. 1 deadline?
A: Officials anticipate being ready for enrollment in October.
Q: How much money has the district received from the federal government to aid in setting up its exchange?
A: The district has received more than $80 million through two grants.
Q: How many people will the exchange employ?
A: There will be about a dozen full-time employees, with other city agencies providing support, including handling enrollment and determining eligibility.
Sources: D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, D.C. Department of Health Care Finance.
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