Request for insurance exchange workers dropped

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - The Arkansas Department of Human Services is dropping a request for 100 employees to help people enroll in the state's health insurance exchange.

DHS Division of County Operations director Joni Jones told the Legislative Council on Friday that the request was dropped after the agency learned that the federal government would not fully pay for the workers.

The Southwest Times Record reported Friday that Jones says the government will fully fund 535 "guides" to assist in the project - but will pay half the cost for the additional 100 workers.

Jones said DHS will use other means to reach out to the estimated 250,000 people who are expected to obtain private insurance through the exchange - which is Arkansas' alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law.

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