health benefits exchange

Hiccups in a federal database have caused some problems for Rhode Island’s own online health insurance marketplace, health-source RI. That database is working again now. But there are ongoing issues with verifying an applicant’s identity.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The head of Rhode Island's online insurance marketplace says she's encouraged by the amount of interest consumers have shown in signing up for health insurance on the state’s newly launched health exchange.

It’s been up and running since October 1st to help uninsured Rhode Islanders and small businesses get the health coverage most are required to have by January 2014.

Healthsource RI leader Christy Ferguson briefed state senators on how it’s working last night. She says the exchange could help drive down health care costs if plenty of small businesses sign up.

The director of Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange says the state is all ready for tomorrow’s rollout of HealthSource RI; the Rhode Island version of Obamacare.  Officials running the online exchange expect business to be relatively slow the first month.

HealthSource RI director Christy Ferguson says Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states in the country ready to enroll people in Obamacare.  Starting Tuesday, the HealthSource call center and online marketplace will be able to enroll people in health insurance policies, take premiums and answer questions.


Rhode Island’s experiment in crafting a 21st Century health care marketplace begins tomorrow.  Rhode Island Public Radio's political analyst Scott MacKay on why we should be rooting for success.

From the Williamette Valley to the Pawtuxet Valley, the debate over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, rages among politicians and the media. Some congressional Tea Party conservatives are even threatening to shut down the federal government if Obamacare goes forward.

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation helped launch Monday an effort to encourage participation in the federal healthcare overhaul known as Obamacare.  Nine community health centers around the state will play a role in the campaign.


The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce said its members are confused about how the state’s health insurance exchange works.

The exchange, known as HealthSource RI, will give residents and small businesses a place to buy insurance once the Affordable Health Care Act is in full swing next year. Small businesses will be able to send their employees to the exchange where they can choose from a selection of plans. When Chamber president Laurie White was asked whether she thinks small business owners get how the exchange works, she replied:

John Bender / RIPR

About 40 people gathered on the south side of the Rhode Island State House Monday evening, chanting and speaking out against recent legislation that passed in Texas which will restrict abortions.

The rally also urged Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee not to sign into law legislation that would allow a “choose life” license plate to be created.  

Money from the plate would go to counseling to dissuade women from getting abortions.

Organizer Lindsay Goss said that though this rally was small, she is already planning for the future.

Key components of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act are the state-run health insurance exchanges. Rhode Island’s will go online in October with a new name: Health Source Rhode Island.  And its director, Christine Ferguson, stopped by our studios to talk with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay about how the exchange will work and who will benefit.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic?  Please email us, we'd love to hear from you.

Rhode Islanders who buy health insurance individually or through a small employer now have an idea how much their monthly premiums will be in 2014. The state’s outgoing commissioner of health insurance approved rates lower than insurance companies requested, although just about everyone’s health insurance bill will be going up.

UPDATE: HHS unveiled a newly redesigned today, which lets users learn more about enrolling in health insurance plans through online insurance marketplaces beginning October 1st. I tried it out. The web site leads you through a series of questions and presents you with your likely options for coverage and whatever financial assistance might be available to help you pay for that coverage. It also creates a customized "checklist" to help you prepare for enrollment, which includes a list of documents you'll need to gather.

Rhode Island’s online marketplace for health insurance is taking shape in preparation for October 1st. That's the date the exchange is scheduled to be up and running with a variety of new health plans to choose from.

At a news conference today, President Barack Obama responded to critics of his health care law, the Affordable Care Act, saying his administration is working hard to meet deadlines and launch the law's next features. A nice recap is posted on Kaiser Health News.

A new report from consumer health care advocacy group Families USA crunched the numbers, state by state. They found that almost 83,000 Rhode Islanders will be eligible for something called the "premium tax credit" in 2014. Families USA, by the way, calls itself nonpartisan, although some say the organization is biased because of its clear support for the Affordable Care Act.


AS220, the downtown arts organization, and the Roots Cafe are hosting three public panel discussions about health care in Rhode Island. And one of them features someone you might know from such illustrious places as... this blog! My predecessor here at RIPR, the delightful Megan Hall, is one of the panelists! Events take place at 5:30 pm on April 24, May 1, and May 8 at AS220 Cafe, 115 Empire Street, in Providence.

Details on the first two events:

The federal government is pushing back the launch of an online health insurance marketplace for small businesses that’s part of the Affordable Care Act. But there will be no delay in Rhode Island.