health insurance

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison, filling in for Dave Fallon on our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.  

This week, Mark and Elisabeth speak with Mark Gray, coordinator of the state's Health Insurance Small Employer Taskforce, about the impact of new health insurance rates on small businesses.

Office of Governor Gina Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo has announced that the state employee health plan will now cover gender transition services. 

Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island

The state’s health insurance commissioner is inviting public comment on proposed health insurance rates for next year. Those rates include some of the smallest proposed increases in years.

Health insurers in Rhode Island can’t just raise monthly premium rates. They have to request a rate change each year from the state’s health insurance commissioner and justify it.

RIPR file photo

Rhode Island’s health insurance commissioner says she’s concerned about funding cuts in the proposed state budget. The agency may have to cut nine of its 12 employees, who currently oversee health insurance regulation.

Health insurers have put in their requests for the rates they hope to charge consumers in 2017. Most have asked for increases, but not all.

Every year insurers have to figure out how much it cost them to pay for medical care for all of their members, and how much they think it will cost next year. It’s a complex process, and state regulators don’t always agree with insurers on the numbers. The result directly affects what you pay for health insurance each month.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island has named a new CEO. Kim Keck comes to Blue Cross most recently from 25 years at insurer Aetna. 

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave discuss the passage of a controversial toll on commercial trucks; and a new requirement for health insurance companies to invest in alternatives to fee-for-service payment schemes.

When to listen:

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50 p.m.


Time is running out to enroll in health insurance if you don’t already have it. And, the penalty for not having insurance goes up substantially in 2016.

If you can afford health insurance but don’t buy it, the federal government will charge every adult in your household $695 dollars or two-point-five percent of your annual household income, whichever is higher. 

And if you can’t afford health insurance or don’t get it through work, you’re not alone. Most of the enrollees on HealthSource RI to-date have qualified for some kind of financial assistance.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Health insurers in Rhode Island can no longer limit or deny coverage based on gender identity. That's due to new rules from the state health insurance commissioner.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave sit down with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island CFO Michael Hudson, who explains why the company has laid off 80 employees. 

 When to listen:

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

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Rhode Islanders have until December 23rd to pay for new health insurance on HealthSource RI, the state’s version of Obamacare. Existing customers will be automatically re-enrolled in a similar plan.

And spokeswoman Maria Tocco says that means their health insurance coverage should be seamless: “Existing customers, if they continue to make their regular monthly payments, they’ll have uninterrupted coverage through January," says Tocco. "They’ll continue to receive bills and as long as they pay them their coverage will go on uninterrupted.”

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Health Department Director Doctor Nicole Alexander-Scott has laid out a plan to improve Rhode Islanders’ health over the coming year.  She described the plan to lawmakers Tuesday evening. One overarching priority is to reduce disparities across the state.


Rhode Island’s online health insurance marketplace is adding new staff to handle an expected increase in customer service calls. HealthSource RI is in its second week of open enrollment. Spokeswoman Maria Tocco says the customer service center is anticipating higher demand during the enrollment period.

“This week we’ll be adding about 15 new contact center reps. And that number will continue to increase through mid-december.”

By then, Tocco says, the center should have about 120 reps ready to take calls.

HealthSource RI

It’s week two of open enrollment on HealthSource RI, the state’s online health insurance marketplace. Existing customers have been automatically re-enrolled. But some may find their plans no longer cover abortion.

Rhode Island now requires every insurer on HealthSource RI to offer options that exclude abortion. Some insurers added new plans to meet the requirement. Some modified old plans. And what happened next was unexpected: 9,000 existing customers were automatically re-enrolled in plans with no abortion coverage. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s president and CEO Peter Andruszkiewicz has announced his retirement, effective May 2016. 


He’ll stay on with the state’s largest insurer while it conducts a search for his successor. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island officials say that, during his five year tenure, Andruszkiewicz has focused on boosting access to primary care and better coordinating members’ health care.

He’s currently participating in several state initiatives to reform health care payment models and improve health care delivery.