By Louise Norris
January 19, 2013
By January 4, the Rhode Island exchange had enrolled 11,770 people in private QHPs (up by nearly 2000 from just a week earlier) and 19,941 had enrolled in Medicaid through the exchange. An additional 530 people had enrolled through their employer in the small business portion of the exchange. So total enrollment was about 32,000 people after three months of open enrollment – far higher than the targets set by the Obama Administration for the state. RI exchange officials and the individual carriers in the state had predicted enrollment more in line with what they’ve seen so far though, but either way, the exchange is certainly on track to meet or exceed its targets.
About a sixth of the enrollees in QHPs had not paid their first month’s premium by January 4. They had until January 6th to do so, but otherwise their coverage will be effective on February 1 instead, as long as they pay by January 23. All residents who wish to purchase new coverage with a February 1 effective date have until January 23 to enroll (this is later than the January 15 deadline in most states).
Rates in Rhode Island are a little higher than the national average. In RI, the lowest cost bronze plan averages $264/month, versus a national average of $249. Three carriers are offering a total of 12 plans in HealthSource RI:
Tufts Health Plan has expressed its intention to participate in the exchange in 2015.
After three months of open enrollment, Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI accounted for the vast majority of the private plans selected in the exchange: 11,417 of the 11,770 enrollees had chosen a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan as of January 4.
RI has joined several other states in rejecting President Obama’s mid-November policy cancellation “fix” that would have allowed existing plans to extend into 2014. Insureds in RI who have received cancellation notices have until December 15 to select a new plan that will be effective January 1.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee established the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange through an executive order in 2011. The state submitted a blueprint for a state-run exchange to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and received conditional approval in December 2012. The state exchange was re-branded as Health Source RI in July 2013.
Chafee’s executive order established the exchange with the executive branch of state government and set up a 13-member board of directors. The board receives input from the Expert Advisory Committee (which includes representatives of insurance brokers, insurers and medical providers) and the Rhode Island Healthcare Reform Commission (which includes more than 200 stakeholders). The Commission was established by Chafee in early 2011 and charged with implementing health care reform in the state. The Commission includes multiple workgroups that study and provide recommendations on various aspects of exchange operations.
According to the state about 126,000 people in Rhode Island are uninsured — approximately 12 percent of the population. Between policies available on the exchange and through increased Medicaid enrollment, the state hopes to achieve near universal coverage. However, the state has not set a target date for reaching that goal.
Health Source RI
State Exchange Profile: Rhode Island
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Rhode Island’s
progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Health Care Advocate, Office of the Attorney General
Serves all consumer and health care professionals with health-related problems.
Rhode Island Consumer Assistance Program
Assists people insured by private health plans, Medicaid, or other plans in resolving problems pertaining to their health coverage; assists uninsured residents with access to care.
(401) 462-9520 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Let your Rhode Island governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee