Firm Running R.I. Health Exchange’s Call Center an Affiliate of Health Insurer

July 22, 2013

The company that was awarded a $24 million contract to operate the Rhode Island health benefits exchange’s customer service center is an affiliate of one selling plans on the exchange, but state officials say there are built-in protections to prevent conflicts of interest.

Florida-based Connextions was selected to manage a call center that will help individuals and small businesses shop for insurance on the state-run exchange, part of the federal health care overhaul. Connextions is a subsidiary of Optum, whose parent is UnitedHealth Group. Minnesota-based UnitedHealthcare is offering plans on the exchange.

Connextions provided the state with a plan to address any potential conflicts, including “impaired objectivity.”

Officials with the exchange, known as HealthSource RI, say they are comfortable with the protections and will monitor the firm’s work for any problems.

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