PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's health insurance marketplace will be allowed to use federal funds to operate through the end of 2015, even longer than initially suggested.

Director Christine Ferguson told a House panel Wednesday she has learned HealthSource RI will be able to extend its use of federal funds through next year, though they were to expire at the end of 2014.

Ferguson had previously indicated HealthSource might be able to use federal funds through the first half of 2015.

The state-run marketplaces are supposed to be self-sustaining beginning next year. Rhode Island hasn't decided on a source to cover HealthSource's estimated $23.9 million annual budget once federal money dries up.

Lawmakers questioned whether Rhode Island can afford it.

Ferguson called the option of shifting to a federally-run marketplace a "horrible idea."

 

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