Four States That Snubbed Health Reform Gaining Jobs From It

© almagami - Fotolia.com
© almagami - Fotolia.com

Four states that have snubbed the federal health law by defaulting to the federal government to build new online insurance marketplaces and not agreeing to expand Medicaid are getting new jobs at call centers that will help consumers understand their new coverage options this fall.

Up to 9,000 jobs are expected to be created at call centers to support the new federally run marketplaces. A Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman said some of them will be added to existing Medicare call centers in Phoenix, Chester, Va., Lawrence, Kan., and Tampa, Fla.– all states with Republican leaders who oppose the law.

A fifth center in Coralville, Iowa and a sixth in Corbin, Ky., will also be expanded, she said. Plans are still being finalized for other locations, she said.

Centers expected to handle 6 million calls

Of those states, only Kentucky is setting up its own online insurance marketplace that will help people shop for individual or small employer coverage. Iowa, will run its exchange in partnership with the federal government. The other states are relying entirely on the federal government.

Of the six states getting call centers, only Kentucky has committed to expanding Medicaid in 2014, even though governors in Florida and Arizona say they support it. So far, 22 states have agreed to expand Medicaid.

The jobs are through Vangent, a General Dynamics Information Technology subsidiary, which was awarded a $530 million one-year contract by the federal government to set up call centers to answer inquiries related to the insurance marketplaces in 34 states where they will be run in whole or part by the federal government.

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The government estimates that next October, when the marketplaces go live, the call centers will be open seven days of the week, 24 hours a day, handling 6.1 million phone calls and 23,000 e-mails. The contract could be renewed for up to nine more years, making it potentially worth more than $5 billion.

States running their own marketplaces will have their own call centers.

The marketplaces are expected to expand health coverage to about 27 million people by 2016. Under the federal contract awarded to Fairfax, Va.-based Vangent, the company will also field inquiries about Medicare, Medicare Advantage and “other relevant programs,” the award announcement stated.

This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Phil Galewitz covers Medicaid, Medicare, long?term care, hospitals and various state health issues for Kaiser Health News. He has covered the health beat for nearly two decades, and before coming to KHN, he was at The Palm Beach Post and was a national health industry writer for the Associated Press and The Patriot? News in Harrisburg, Pa. Contact him at pgalewitz@kff.org.

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1 Comment on “Four States That Snubbed Health Reform Gaining Jobs From It

  1. And then there’s Texas ….. that has said NO to setting up exchanges and is doing every thing possible to make communication of ACA/networks impossible. They also have turned down the offer of billions for increased Medicaid coverage.
    There is no need to ask for explanations. Their answer is that people who can’t afford healthcare are either:
    1) not working —- definition: lazy bums
    2) just don’t budget their sparse income well. If they did they’d pay for insurance — i.e. make it a priority. Would be fine if they didn’t have to eat.

    .

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