Four States That Snubbed Health Care Law Gaining Jobs From It

Filed under: Health Care,News,Politics |

By PHIL GALEWITZ, KHN— Four states that snubbed the federal health care law by defaulting to the federal government to build new online insurance marketplaces and not agreeing to expand Medicaid will get 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 created by the health care law.

exchange-call-centerWEBA 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 health care 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.

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.

The call centers will answer inquiries related to the insurance marketplaces in 34 states where they will be run in whole or part by the federal government. 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.

Vangent will also field inquiries about Medicare, Medicare Advantage and “other relevant programs,” under the federal contract awarded to Fairfax, Va.-based company.

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