Affordable Care Act

Screen shot / Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have announced the second round of Health Care Innovation awards. These are big grants for projects that are trying to reduce the cost of health care and/or improve care delivery, often for some of the sickest or most complicated patients.

Aaron Read / RIPR

How much will health insurance cost you next year? Well, you’ll find out soon. Health insurers have submitted their plans for next year, including how much they want to charge customers and what benefits those plans will include.

In Rhode Island, it’s the office of the health insurance commissioner that reviews those plans and decides whether to approve or reject them, or ask for some changes.


State lawmakers have plenty of competing priorities to consider as they wrap up the legislative session. One of those is what to do with the state’s health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI. Health care reporter Kristin Gourlay joins host Dave Fallon to talk about the lively debate that's developed around this question of whether to keep HealthSource going or scrap it and default to the federal health insurance exchange,

Lawmakers are being asked to decide the fate of HealthSource RI, the state’s online health insurance exchange. At issue is how to pay for it, or whether to scrap it. And plenty of voices are weighing in on the conversation. The latest claims state officials were told years ago that building an exchange wasn’t viable but did it anyway.

As you may know, there's a debate in the Rhode Island Statehouse over how to fund the state's online health insurance marketplace, HealthSource RI, after the Obamacare money runs out. Some say the $17 - $23 million dollar price tag to fund the site, customer service reps and centers, and infrastructure needed to negotiate for health insurance plans for sale on the site is just too much for a state with anemic coffers.

Healthsource RI Needs $4.6M For 2015

May 23, 2014

Rhode Island's health insurance exchange HealthSource RI says it needs $4.6 million dollars to keep running through fiscal year 2015.

The money would need to come from the state.  HealthSource RI director Christine Ferguson says the money would cover the program's operating costs, and will allow federal funding to cover program development.

As you may know, today is the deadline for individuals and families to sign up for health insurance coverage through HealthSource RI, if you don't already have coverage. But what happens tomorrow?

Well, if you're an individual or a family without coverage now, and you can't get it through your employer or via Medicaid, you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment period, November 15, 2014. Also, you might face a tax penalty.

Monday is the deadline to enroll in a health insurance plan through HealthSource RI, the state’s online insurance marketplace. That’s the last chance to enroll until November.

The push is on to attract as many eligible Rhode Islanders to HealthSource RI to sign up for a health insurance plan. March 31st is the deadline to enroll in coverage in order to avoid a tax penalty for the year. And the next open enrollment period doesn’t start until mid-November for coverage that begins the following January. So if you were waiting until the last minute, now’s the time.

Another study seems to suggest that, contrary to previous assumptions, it does.

Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have just published the results of a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that looked at all emergency department visits at 69 hospitals between the fall of 2006 and the fall of 2009. In 2006, Massachusetts expanded access to health insurance to nearly everyone in the state.

Rhode Island took advantage of millions in federal dollars to build and launch its own health insurance exchange. Now as that federal money is about to run out, HealthSource RI director Christine Ferguson says she’s got a plan for the 2015 fiscal year, which starts this July.

The Commonwealth Fund

Looks like a mixed bag. Check out this interactive map from the Commonwealth Fund. Of the states with their own, state-run marketplaces, some plan to raise revenue for their exchanges with taxes or "assessments" on health insurance premiums, for instance. Others, like Rhode Island, seem to be still undecided.

The latest numbers out of the state's health insurance exchange show most residents are enrolling in Medicaid and And many of those who have enrolled in private health insurance are getting financial assistance to help pay for their coverage.


New numbers show nearly 20,000 Rhode Islanders have signed up for insurance on HealthSource RI, the state's insurance exchange. Meanwhile, almost 49,000 have enrolled in a state-paid Medicaid plan. The numbers also show 133 small businesses have enrolled to offer their employees and families coverage through the exchange.


Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange is opening a temporary walk in center in Warwick today. Open enrollment on HealthSource RI ends this month.

file / RIPR

Rhode Island’s online health insurance exchange has nearly doubled enrollment numbers since January. The news comes as the deadline for individuals to get covered is less than two weeks away.

More than 16,000 Rhode Islanders have enrolled in health insurance plans on HealthSource RI as of this past weekend. That’s up from 9800 at the beginning of January.  HealthSource RI says most enrollees have qualified for some kind of help paying for those plans – a reduced monthly premium and assistance with co-pays and deductibles.

Associated Press / University of Minnesota, State Health Access Data Assistance Center

A new analysis of some of the most recent census data for the Associated Press by the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center finds that half the nation's uninsured people under age 65 live in just 116 of the nation's 3143 counties.

Providence County, RI is one of those, as you can see on this map here.

More than 15% of the county's 500,000 or so citizens are uninsured, according to the analysis.