Outreach tour for health exchange begins in RI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Rhode Island officials are making the first stop on a statewide tour to introduce consumers and small businesses to the health insurance marketplace where they can shop for coverage beginning this fall.

The outreach tour designed to raise the profile of the exchange, named HealthSource RI, begins Wednesday with an education session in Providence.

The exchange will hold similar sessions for individuals, businesses and community groups all across Rhode Island to answer questions about plan types, federal subsidies and other issues.

The state-run exchange will be open for enrollment as of Oct. 1. Most Americans will be required to have health coverage starting in January as part of the federal health care overhaul.

The exchange, which is being built with federal funds, has budgeted $2 million for ads through March.